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Evangelist Billy Graham Dead at 99

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Latest from Rick Couri

    Wednesday begins mostly dry across most of Tulsa and the surrounding area. But that’s likely to change as a new front pushes up from Texas by mid-afternoon.  Freezing rain, mist, and possible sleet some of the expected conditions as a Winter Weather Advisory runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.   EMSA says medics tell us they responded to 23 crashes Tuesday, likely due to rain or wet conditions. None of the injuries were serious.  Chuck Hodges of the National Weather Service tells us how bad things get depends on one thing. “Surface temperatures in this type of thing are so critical,” he explains. “If we start getting temperatures hanging around in the upper 20’s that’s when we’ll start seeing issues on the roadways,” Hodges continued.  ODOT and the city confirm they will be watchingonditions and have crews standing by to treat roadways as needed. Crews focusing on bridges and overpasses and recommend allowing extra travel time during the evbning commute.   
  • The video opens with game warden Marni Loftis explaining about the animal.  “They’re extremely strong, powerful birds and catching them can be a little bit difficult” she begins. “But we’re going to get him caught and take him to a wildlife rehabilitater where he can can be healed up by vets at the Tulsa zoo.” Once captured the eagle was taken to the rescue facility at Wild Heart Ranch near Claremore where Annette King took over. “On examination this looks like a through-and-through wound to me” she begins. King then describes the wound more in-depth.  “We’re almost an inch deep into this part of the wing,” she continues. Then King gives the bad news. “this part of the wing is going to have to be amputated” she reveals. But there is good news. Vets think the bird will live as long as there are no infection issues followihg surgery. The eagle is now at the Tulsa zoo where it will be rehabbed and live out it’s years. The following is from the Oklahoma Game Warden’s Facebook page. “The eagle was likely shot near where it was found, north of Sandusky in Delaware County around 495 Rd. If you have information about this incident, please contact Game Warden Marni Loftis at 918-533-2678 or call Operation Game Thief for an anonymous report at 1-800-522-8039, either way, you could receive a reward for information that leads to a conviction.”
  • Schools in the Tulsa area responding to Wednesday’s shootings of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “We are on top of this” Tulsa schools superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist told us early Thursday morning. “We take these situations seriously and prepare for them” she continued. “Because we have a campus police department, we are able to have and practice our emergency plans.” Each school has an armed officer on-location and the district continues to make each physical location safer. “We have more and more buildings with more modern, secure entrances.” We asked Gist to explain how their system works. “Entrances have a buzzing system” she began explaining.   “The system allows you into a secured area that accesses the office but not the rest of the building.”  When asked what she’d like to say to parents and lawmakers Gist took a deep breath and began. “There’s no one thing that can be done to prevent these incidents, but there are a combination of things.” She explains some of those include “security, mental and emotional health, and gun security while figuring out what we can do together to prevent these things.” Gist closed with a message about money. “It requires funding,” she said flatly. “It requires us to maximize the funding we have but it does require funding.” Do your kids feel safe at school? Use this link to download the KRMG app and leave us your thoughts using the open mic.
  • An online survey is available for Bixby parents as the process to replace Kyle Wood gets into high gear. Some parents we talked to make no bones about what they want to see in a new leader. “Integrity, transparency,  and openness with parents on any issue that might arise,” Sara Morgan says. In a nearby home, Deidre Epperly added a willingness to be open. “We get a lot of communication from our principals at individual school sites,” she began. “But I think hearing from the superintendat directly is important.” You can find the survey here. Wood resigned after allegations saying several Bixby football players raped another player with a pool cue at Wood’s home in September of 2017. The board says they hope to make a new hire by March or April.
  • Emergency managers say  one person has been airlifted to a Tulsa hospital and five others missing after an oil well near Quinton caught fire Monday morning. The Pittsburg County Sheriff says they are responding to the area where black smoke can be seen billowing into the sky. Unconfirmed reports say as many as five people may be missing. The Oklahoma Corporation Commission is sending a team to make sure the fire emits no pollution.  We have a reporter on the way and will update the story as soon as we know more.
  • DENSE FOG ADVISORY: For Wagoner, Muskogee, Sequoyah, Haskell, Latimer, Le Flore, Washington, Nowata, Craig, Ottawa, Rogers, Mayes, Delaware, Cherokee, and Adair counties until 9AM. Fog, condensation, and temps near freezing may lead to icy spots around northeastern Oklahoma Tuesday morning.  With afternoon temperatures expected to climb into the 50’s, street conditions should improve quickly but how bad it is depends on the temperature in your area and how quickly fog and clouds clear out. Highs will reach the 60s Wednesday before another shot of Arctic air arrives Thursday with snow flurries possible.  Open or download the KRMG app and use the open mic feature to let us know what the weather is like in your area.
  • Tulsans know Jamie Dupree, but many may have trouble remembering his voice. “The most connected man in Washington” as Sean Hannity calls him, has not been able to speak for nearly two years. Jamie’s condition is called tongue protrusion dystonia, a disorder so rare not a single US doctor specializes in it. Florida congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtine brought attention to Jamie when she read a tribute to him on the house floor last week. Now Politico has taken it a step further with an in-depth article. Read the entire Politico article here.
  • PSO says, unofficially, that customers hit an all-time high for winter-time electricity usage on New Year's Day.  Usage for Monday was 2,900 megawatts, which is just 1,500 megawatts short of last summer's peak, 4,400 megawatts.   PSO says customers typically see a cheaper bill in the winter months than in the summer, and they expect January cost to still be less than summer despite the spike.  People wanting to save should consider installing a humidifier, fixing loose or broken duct work, opening south-facing blinds and lowering the temperature when away from the home, among other things.
  • Although winter doesn’t offically start for another three weeks, KRMG wanted to see what the experts think is on tap for Oklahoma.  “We’re in a pattern with a mild La Niña” National Weather Service meteorologist in charge Steve Piltz told us. “That could mean a milder than normal winter but that doesn’t mean there won’t be snow,” he continued. Fox23 and KRMG chief meteorologist James Aydelotte agrees. “We’ve had some of out worst winter storms in years with a mild La Niña.” NWS hydrologist Nicole McGavock is charged with doing research  into the history of weather patterns. She’s found one trend seems to be taking hold. “Since the mid 70’s, it’s been getting consistently warmer,” she began. “While the average temperature may be up slightly, the high’s tend to be hotter.” We asked all three when they expect Tulsa to see it’s first snow. “January 4th,” said Piltz, while Aydelotte thinks “December 15th.” McGavock thought for a second before deciding on late December. Here the entire hour here.
  • Bixby police are investigating claims of sexual assault on a minor by four or five other juveniles, all believed to be members of the high school football team. The assistant police chief said the case was opened last Thursday.  A police report obtained by the Tulsa World this morning say investigators are looking into a possible rape by instrumentation of a juvenile by four other juveniles. Reports say all involved are either 16 or 17-years-old, and the incident is believed to have happened at a team gathering. The report shows the address of the incident corresponds with the home of Bixby superintendant Kyle Wood. Cops began getting information last week and the alleged incident may have happened a week or two before it was reported.   The incident was initally referred to as a 'hazing,' according to the assistant police chief.
  • Rick Couri

    Managing Editor

    Rick Couri began his career with KRMG in 1982 and has since done "everything you could do" at the station. Rick has covered top sporting events such as the Olympic Games, the World Series, football bowl games and championship tennis. He even spent a day with boxing great Muhammad Ali. On the news side Rick was in Joplin and Moore hours after F-5 tornados. He’s also covered political conventions and a presidential visit.

    Rick is entering his 29th year as the color voice for TU basketball, and 12th year as the play-by-play voice for Union football. He’s also broadcast Tulsa basketball, Oklahoma State football, and Tulsa Talons Arena league football.

    Rick and Christine, his wife of 25-years, have three children. son Kelly (36), and his wife Jill. Kelly & Jill are the parents of granddaughter Hayden. 33-year-old daughter Lindsey works for Union public schools and 19-year-old daughter Delaney Catalina is a sophomore engineering major at Texas A&M. When away from the microphone, Rick is a PADI scuba instructor. He and his family have a dive instruction company, http://www.okiescuba.com/. While Rick will tell you he is a "sports guy", those familiar with the Tulsa market know Rick's influence extends well outside the circle of sports. As Co-host of the KRMG Morning News, Rick has interviewed everyone from local celebrities to national figures...A community leader who gives of his time and talent, Rick's commitment to the annual funding campaign for Operation Aware has resulted in over $1.3 million dollars being raised for this important charity... KRMG listeners have learned to appreciate Rick's insightful reporting and have developed a trust unique in today's media personalities. 

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  • 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.
  • was ready for a secret meeting with North Korean officials at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, earlier this month, but the North backed out, according to news outlets. >> Read more trending news Pence attended the Olympics Opening Ceremony on Feb. 9 as part of a five-day trip to Asia and was seated near Kim Jong-un’s sister, but did not speak to her, creating a media sensation. The North canceled the meeting just two hours before Pence was scheduled to meet with Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, and another North Korean state official, Kim Yong Nam, on Feb. 10 after Pence announced new sanctions against the North Korean regime during his trip and rebuked it for its nuclear program, according to the Washington Post, which was the first to report on the secret meeting. “North Korea dangled a meeting in hopes of the vice president softening his message, which would have ceded the world stage for their propaganda during the Olympics,” the vice president’s chief of staff, Nick Ayers, said in a statement, according to The Hill. >> Related: NBC apologizes for comment about Japan, South Korea during Olympics opening ceremony News of the secret meeting comes as relations between the communist north and democratic south seem to be thawing in recent weeks with the announcement last month from Kim Jong-un that he was sending a delegation to the Olympics. He sent his sister to lead the group. “We regret [the North Koreans'] failure to seize this opportunity,' State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said in a statement. 'We will not apologize for American values, for calling attention to human rights abuses, or for mourning a young American’s unjust death.' >> Related: Olympic gold medalist, skater Meagan Duhamel, uses platform to spotlight dog meat trade Pence said he planned to use his trip to the Olympics to prevent North Korea from using the games as a ploy for favorable propaganda on the communist regime.
  • As state capitals go, Oklahoma does pretty well. So say the ranking wizards at WalletHub, which looked at such factors as affordability, economic well-being, quality of education and health, and quality of life. OKC did best in affordability, ranked at number 2 in the whole nation, and was around average, give or take, in economic well-being and quality of life, for an overall ranking of 14 out of 50. Not too shabby. Oklahoma City does struggle a bit in education and health, ranked at 36. The top 3 capitals were Austin, Texas; Madison, Wisconsin; and Boise, Idaho. Bottom 3 were Jackson, Mississippi; Hartford, Connecticut; and Trenton, New Jersey. You can see the full list from WalletHub here.