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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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  • Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee on Saturday released their redacted response to a Republican memo on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, as Democrats charged that the GOP omitted numerous details about the FBI’s probe during the campaign for the White House. “FBI and DOJ officials did not “abuse” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) process, omit material information, or subvert this vital tool to spy on the Trump campaign,” the Democratic memo states. “The FBI supplied information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that Russia might be colluding with Trump campaign associates,” Democrats said in a press statement announcing the release of the memo, which had been held back earlier this month after the White House raised questions about details included in the ten page memo. “Some time ago, Republicans on our committee released a declassified memo that omitted and distorted key facts in order to mislead the public and impugn the integrity of the FBI,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Intelligence panel. “We can now tell you what they left out,” Schiff added. BREAKING: Congress releases redacted Democratic memo pushing back on GOP claims of surveillance abuses in FBI's Russia probe. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) February 24, 2018 Democrats said their rebuttal “should put to rest any concerns that the American people might have as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the FISC,” as they said the evidence “failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement.” Democrats not only countered that, but raised questions about the testimony of one-time Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page, who was the focus of the original Republican memo, as the GOP raised questions about how surveillance had been approved of Page. Democrats said the answer was not the information supplied by ex-British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. Some portions of the document on those points were blacked out, or redacted. You can read the full Democratic memo at this link. Democrats also released a fact sheet to go with the memo.
  • Local districts have been dealing with a lot of school threats recently. In fact, at least four children have been arrested. Tulsa County Assistant District Attorney Erik Grayless has a warning for anyone thinking about making a threat of their own. “If you threaten a school, we will prosecute you,” Grayless said.   The district attorney's office is so serious about these threats that Grayless was willing to get even more specific. “You cannot post pictures of firearms on Instagram and reference your school,” Grayless said.  “That’s a threat.  The threat itself, regardless of your intentions, is a crime.” KRMG's told that alone could lead to a misdemeanor charge and six months of jail time.
  • If you have outdoor plans for today be prepared to get wet. National Weather Service Meteorologist David Jankowski says more rain is likely for the Tulsa area. “Showers are expected to increase and becoming an 80 percent chance by the mid-morning hours,” Jankowski said.  “It looks like the rainfall forecast across the area for Saturday will be less than a half of an inch.” For reference, Tulsa saw 1.59 inches during the day on Friday.   The high for today will be around 58 degrees. Sunday will be a lot better for outdoor activities.  NWS is reporting sunny skies and a high close to 64 degrees.  
  • In the wake of the recent mass shooting at a Florida high school, President Donald Trump on Saturday signaled again that he wants changes in background checks for those people who are buying firearms, as he emphasized his call for Congress to make a series of reforms to gun-related laws, also urging state and local officials to do more to toughen security at their schools. “Congress is in a mood to finally do something on this issue – I hope!,” the President tweeted. White House officials said Mr. Trump would again press his call for action on issues of school safety in coming days as he meets with the nation’s Governors, many of whom will be in Washington, D.C. for their yearly legislative conference. But the question remains – what will the Congress do? Or what can Congress do? 1. Some details still murky on what the President wants to do. While the President has a ready list of items on which he is asking for action in the Congress, the exact details will determine how the Congress reacts. For example, Mr. Trump has repeatedly said he wants ‘comprehensive background checks with an emphasis on mental health’ – how that is structured is an extremely important point. While it may sound completely logical that someone who has mental issues should not be able to buy weapons, those details are not easily fleshed out.  While he has talked repeatedly about background checks, the President has never addressed the issue of private gun sales – what is sometimes referred to as the ‘gun show loophole’ – which is something members in both parties have talked about dealing with for several years.   At a Friday news conference with the Prime Minister of Australia, here’s how the President set out what he wants accomplished: President Trump: 'We want to be very powerful, very strong on background checks and especially as it pertains to the mentally ill. We're going to get rid of the bump stocks and we're going to do certain other things.' https://t.co/P4FE9BWjUD pic.twitter.com/xLxpfFcgAd — CSPAN (@cspan) February 23, 2018 2. The push for the “Fix NICS” bill. Even before the Florida school shooting, there was a bipartisan effort to make some changes to ensure that more information is funneled into the background check system for gun buyers, whether it’s on mental health, or military charges which would disqualify someone who wants to buy a firearm. The House already passed the “Fix NICS” bill – but it was combined with another measure that approved a national “Concealed Carry” effort, which would allow anyone with a legal permit to carry a concealed weapon to do that in any state – even if that state has different laws and regulations governing such conduct. While that combination was approved by the House, it seems doomed in the Senate, and it is one reason that some lawmakers are now pressing for action on just the “Fix NICS” plan, which the President has endorsed. Joined @RepLanceNJ7 letter to @SpeakerRyan urging him to bring the bipartisan Fix NICS Act to @HouseFloor to improve the national background check system. This legislation is an important step to make our nation safer pic.twitter.com/8sLyie7UTj — Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (@RosLehtinen) February 24, 2018 3. How much would the Congress really do under Trump’s plans? This is a question that’s up for debate. Think of the President’s call for certain teachers or administrators to carry concealed weapons at schools – that seems more of a state and local matter than something which would be legislated by the Congress. Increasing security measures at schools – the Congress could deliver aid, but the idea of approving new spending is not exactly a popular item with some Republicans right now in the House and Senate. Changing the age of purchase for certain weapons like an AR-15 might sound attractive to some, but that is guaranteed to be controversial as well in Congress – especially when states might be able to take that same step on their own. The “gun violence restraining order” is another idea that’s popped up as a way to keep the mentally ill from access to firearms – but is that better done by state legislatures instead of the Congress? NEW: One idea the White House has latched onto as it casts for solutions to mass school shootings: “red flag” restraining orders that take guns away QUICKLY from people considered a danger to themselves or others, aides tell me. https://t.co/eMDqfB3qNy — Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) February 24, 2018 4. There has been some movement in Congress – but not much. Yes, we have examples of members of Congress who have changed their position on certain gun issues, but by no means has there been an upheaval on Capitol Hill in the wake of the Florida school shooting, just like there was no major change after past school shootings. Yes, the President has talked to House and Senate leaders about the gun issue – but don’t expect gun legislation to be on the floor next week or anything. Here is one GOP lawmaker who said he wants to revisit that ban – but that’s just one. My rifle in the Army was very similar to the AR-15-style semiautomatic weapon used to kill at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. I cannot support the primary weapon I used to defend our people being used to kill children I swore to defend. https://t.co/4UNhAaulGu — Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) February 23, 2018 5. The outlook for the short-term – more of the same. While the Florida school shooting has energized younger Americans and their call for action, there is no sense that Republicans are about to dramatically change course on guns. As someone who has covered the gun debates since the 1980’s in Congress, the House and Senate right now have large majorities in favor of gun rights – and it has been that way since Democrats pushed through the Brady law and an assault weapons ban back in the early 1990’s. Change could always happen – but as of now, it’s hard to see that occurring in 2018. In a better world Parkland would lead to some rethinking of issues ranging from gun laws to mental health policies to whether we should elect sheriffs, etc. But it’s America 2018. So we’ve had a doubling down on screaming and tribalism rather than thinking and fact-finding. — Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) February 24, 2018
  • Winner, winner, before that chicken dinner. >> Read more trending news A North Carolina woman is $1 million richer after buying a scratch-off ticket while purchasing her meal, WRAL reported. Sayanna Bragg bought a dozen chicken wings and a soft drink at a Durham convenience store and decided to purchase a Million Dollar Fever scratch-off ticket.  When she got to her car, Bragg began to scratch the ticket. “When I saw the fire symbol, I knew I won something,” she told WRAL. “I was hoping it was at least $10, that way I’d win my money back, or even $100. When I saw what it was, I cried tears of joy. I jumped out of the car and ran back into the store yelling ‘I did it! I hit $1 million.’” The store clerk at the Cruizers store confirmed that the ticket was a million-dollar winner. Bragg did not hesitate, driving to the state lottery headquarters in Raleigh to claim her winnings. Bragg decided to take the lump-sum payout and cleared $423,000 after taxes, WRAL reported. Bragg said she plans to use some of her winnings to take a trip to Jamaica. “I’m going to take a long vacation,” Bragg told WRAL. “I have family in Jamaica, so I want to go back and see them. This is a day I’ll never forget.”