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Latest from Rick Couri

    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.
  • Click here to listen to a KRMG Morning News 8am In-Depth Hour with Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum Mayor G.T. Bynum  2017 State of the City  Nov. 2, 2017 Thank you for that introduction and for the chance to speak today. As any of us who work in  public service know, you don’t do it alone. I am incredibly thankful for the love and support of my  family, and I want to acknowledge some of them in attendance today: My wife, Susan; my Mom,  Suzie; and my grandfather – the Dean of the Former Mayors of Tulsa – Bob LaFortune.  We have so many transformative initiatives under way in Tulsa. But before I go any further, I  have to share some really exciting news with everyone here about Amazon…  On Amazon’s website today, Legendary Tulsa author Michael Wallis’s new book is on sale for  only $19!  That is a GREAT price! I hope everyone here will check it out. In fact, I think each person in this  room should buy 100 copies. Whatever it takes…  But back to the City, we are thinking big and moving fast on a number of fronts. I want you to  know how lucky I feel to work with the members of this City Council every day. Councilors  Vanessa Hall-Harper, Jeannie Cue, David Patrick, Blake Ewing, Karen Gilbert, Connie Dodson,  Anna America, Phil Lakin, and Ben Kimbro are my partners in everything we do and everything I  am going to talk about today. This is an outstanding City Council and I’m proud of the working  relationship we’ve established.  I am thankful to deliver the State of the City to this audience because so much of the inspiration  we’ve taken at the City over the last year has come from the business and philanthropic  communities.  In December, the City Council and I adopted a new vision statement for the City of Tulsa: To  build a globally competitive, world-class city.  We're setting aside regional fights to work with our neighbors in competing on the real playing  field of the 21st Century: National and international competition.  To do that, we’re pursuing a broad range of initiatives – and our models for excellence are great  Tulsa businesses.  Now, a politician saying we need to run government more like a business is one of the oldest  clichés around. It is usually a hollow throwaway line, intended to get applause. And if there’s  any further detail than that, it is lines like, “We need someone who knows how to add up a  payroll,” or “We need to make more than we spend,” or “We need to cut wasteful employees”.  To be fair, all of these are true. But is that how low we’ve set the bar for government? Knowing  how to add, not going bankrupt, and proficiency in firing people are the standards of excellence?  In Tulsa, we are renewing a spirit of high expectations and that starts with the City itself. Our  goal is not to run the City just like any business – our goal is to run the City like a GREAT  business.  Running the City like a great business starts with our team.  During the transition period last year between the election and being sworn in, I took advantage  of the time given to reach out to some of the great organizational leaders in our city. I wanted  their advice and guidance on how best to go about leading a large organization like the City of  Tulsa.  One of those people was the incoming chairman of the chamber, BOK CEO Steve Bradshaw.  Steve gave me a lot of great advice, but one idea has proven particularly useful. Steve routinely  meets with small groups of employees chosen at random so he can hear firsthand from them  how to make BOK a great place to work.  I loved the idea and started doing it immediately after taking office. Every month, six City  employees are selected from a random generator and we go to lunch. This is one of the most  valuable meetings I have every month. We discuss the joys and challenges of working at the  City, and they give me practical ideas for making our workplace better.  Best of all, it has helped me get to know our 3,600 employees as people – and here's what I've  found:  Your employees at the City of Tulsa are incredible public servants. After years of budget cuts,  the people who work at the City do it because they love to serve. They aren't doing it for the  great pay.  These are the police officers who selflessly sprint toward danger to keep you safe. These are  the firefighters who rescue your neighbor from a fire or resuscitate your dad after a heart attack.  These are the street crews that are out in the ice and snow to clear your way to work, or out  cleaning up debris from the first August tornado to strike our city since the 1950s. These are the  people delivering the water you mix with baby formula for your newborn and who design the  streets your teenager learns to drive on.  They do all this because they love to serve you. And I am so honored to serve them, and to be a  part of their team.  This month's random employee lunch is today, and my teammates from the City are joining me  at this table for the State of the City. Please join me in thanking these public servants and the  thousands they represent.  But we’ve done more than just have lunch every month.    Chet Cadieux and his team at QuikTrip were very generous in teaching us about their employee  feedback process – a system that empowers every employee at QuikTrip to make it a better  place to work. We’ve installed the same system at the City as part of our long-term process of  building the best possible workplace for our employees.  Paula Marshall and her team at Bama taught us about their approach to employee health, and  we used that to overhaul not just our insurance program, but our fundamental approach to  employee wellness.  In a flat budget, we prioritized the stabilization of our pension system for the long-term and  budgeted pay increases for those employees whose performance merits them.  At the City of Tulsa, all of us are a team.  Running the City like a great business also means your products are excellent. And for us, no  service is more important than public safety.  The reality is that after years of declining manpower, our Police Department has not been  staffed appropriately and you see that in the unacceptably high homicide and violent crime rate.  We are addressing this with great urgency along two lines:  First, we are presently undergoing the largest single-year hiring of new Police officers in Tulsa  history. While our average annual academy size in this century is 31 officers, this year we are  hiring 90. We’re doing in one year what would normally take us almost three years to  accomplish.  We are hiring 90 new officers this year – the maximum we are capable of recruiting and training  in one year – and we plan to do it again next year.  We are also implementing one of the most comprehensive community policing initiatives in the  nation. In my first month as mayor, we convened the Tulsa Commission on Community Policing.  The goal of community policing is for everyday citizens to work with police in making a  community safer.  Some cities have done this by implementing the use of body cameras or by appointing citizen  advisory boards or by improving the training officers receive. We are doing all of those, and  much more. In total, the Commission made 77 different recommendations for community  policing in Tulsa and we are committed to publicly tracking our implementation of every single  one of them.  When it comes to Fire protection, we have manpower needs too.  Thanks to the help of our Congressional delegation, the City received a grant to hire 60 new  firefighters this year – something that would have taken us years to accomplish on our own.  And with a fleet of firetrucks that until last month counted a 10-year-old truck as its newest,  we’ve expedited the replacement of broken-down trucks after years of delay.  Beyond public safety, we have focused on major infrastructure initiatives. Our medians and  rights-of-way are now being mowed at the correct frequency. We have expedited the re-wiring  of every single highway light in town after they were stripped by a ring of thieves – and we’ve  arrested the thieves. We’ve hired additional street maintenance workers and traffic signal repair  crews. Our goal is to deserve the title of America’s Most Beautiful City.  Running the City like a great business also means we are focused on growth.  As I mentioned earlier, we have shifted our focus away from the old parochial skirmishes over  shopping malls and reoriented our focus toward national and international competition. Our  partnership with the Tulsa Regional Chamber has been incredibly successful along these lines.  We had more corporate relocation site visits in the first quarter of this year alone than we had in  all of last year combined. We’ve landed major new employers like the Greenheck Group, and  we’ve harnessed broad community support behind major targets like Amazon.  We’ve expedited the construction timeline for the largest economic development capital  improvements program in city history – Vision Tulsa – so that 80 percent of the projects will be  funded in the first five years. That means in the next five years you will see a lake in the  Arkansas River, USA BMX conducting their Olympic training and trials in the Greenwood District  of North Tulsa, bus rapid transit lines transforming the use of public transportation, and pilots  from around the world training at the Oklahoma Air National Guard’s new simulator facility.  You will see a facility worthy of the greatest collection of Western art in the world under  construction at Gilcrease Museum and you’ll see Tulsa kids having their horizons broadened at  the new Tulsa Children’s Museum.  All of that, and I didn’t even mention the greatest public park gift in the history of the United  States of America – The Gathering Place – which will attract visitors from around the world. I  love that my kids will grow up with the expectation that of course the best park in the world is in  their hometown.  We are making Tulsa a more welcoming place for its newest citizens through the New Tulsans  Initiative, which will connect our growing immigrant community with opportunities for education,  employment, and leadership.  And, we are partnering with one of the world’s great philanthropic foundations, the Rockefeller  Foundation, to develop a plan for comprehensively addressing issues of racial disparity that  have divided our city for far too long.  We are making long-term investments based on data. Analysis by Tulsa Data Science confirms  that the strongest correlation to per capita income is a high school diploma, and one of the  greatest indicators of high school graduation rates is third-grade reading proficiency. Yet in  Tulsa Public Schools only around 50 percent of third graders are reading at grade level. But  there is a solution and it is called Reading Partners.  The premise is simple: An adult spends an hour a week practicing reading with a kid who needs  a little help. For kids who participate in the program, they have over a 90 percent success rate.  We could go from 50 percent of third graders reading on grade level to over 95 percent – IF we  have enough volunteers. I am proud to tell you this year the City of Tulsa became the largest  employer partner in the nation with Reading Partners. And at the end of the year we will be able  to show you the improvements made, thanks to your City employees who gave up their lunch  break for one day a week to change a kid’s life.  If you would like to join us in changing the lives of Tulsa kids, all you have to do – and you can  do it right now, I won’t take it personally – is pull out your phone and text READING to 444999.  You’ll receive a prompt-in response for more information, and Reading Partners will take it from  there.  We have also changed the way the City works with our schools. On my first day as mayor, we  convened the Mayor’s Education Cabinet, which consists of the three K-12 superintendents,  presidents of our higher education and career tech institutions, and pre-K leaders. The purpose  of this group is to advise me on ways the City can be more helpful to local educators.  One of the best initiatives to spring from this was the federal financial aid application drive we  co-sponsored with the Tulsa Regional Chamber, which resulted in a significant increase in high  school seniors applying for financial aid – opening opportunities to higher education those  students may not have otherwise had.  We are doing all of this because we believe a unified, diverse, and educated community with  tremendous quality of life will fuel economic growth in the years ahead.  Running the City like a great business also means we are laser focused on outcomes.  In December, we established the Office of Performance Strategy & Innovation with the goal of  delivering better outcomes in a more transparent way. We are implementing what is known as  Moneyball For Government, based on the book and movie about Billy Bean of the Oakland  Athletics.  The idea is to use data to test what strategies are delivering results and which are not. You take  funding away from those strategies that don’t demonstrate success and you put it toward the  strategies that do. When I explain this to business people, they generally find it adorable that  government has just caught on to this idea because business has been doing it as long as  business has existed.  In Tulsa, we are already a global leader on this front. I’ve been asked to speak around the  country regarding the approach we’ve developed to break down silos and work together on  achieving better outcomes, and just last week addressed an international convening of city  leaders in Paris. At a time of such great division, nationally and internationally, there is  tremendous admiration out there for the way we are pulling together in Tulsa to solve our  greatest challenges.  A great example of this is the City’s active involvement in the Birth through Eight Strategy for  Tulsa – or BEST – which is helping make Tulsa the best place in the United States to be a new  baby. Tulsa is a community that will support all parents and children so that each newborn child  shares in the core American promise of equal opportunity to all. The BEST plan, when fully  implemented, will provide integrated support and services to 32,000 children each year, from  Birth through Age Eight, across all of Tulsa. Dozens of organizations are coming together for  our children to make this vision a reality.  We are harnessing data to improve our effectiveness, but we are also making it more  transparent by putting data online in formats usable for everyday citizens. We have  implemented biweekly stat meetings with our operational departments to keep them focused on  results.  We are replacing our quarter-century-old computer systems at the City with new technology that  will improve performance dramatically. To put this in perspective, the records management  system our Police Department relies on is older than I am. Tomorrow, Apple will release the  iPhone 10 – one of the most advanced pieces of technology ever placed in consumer hands.  Here’s a photo of the Apple Computer that was issued the same year as our Police Records  Management System:  That computer is literally made out of wood!  Our advancements in technology aren’t just for City employees. We released the Tulsa 3-1-1  app, which any of you can download at the app store for your phone. If you see a pothole, or a  light that is out, or a sign that needs to be replaced, you can just pull out the app and report it. It  will identify where you are and send City crews to fix the problem.  A focus on outcomes also means you sometimes don’t use the strategy you originally expected.  That is certainly the case in our discussions with the County over the jail. My goal was to end  the fight, and after decades of fighting we did end it. Is the strategy we are deploying to end that  fight perfect? No. But we are not going to allow the relationship between the City and the  County to be defined by a fight over the jail any longer. We have too many big things to  accomplish together.  I hope you see, we have accomplished a great deal this year to make the City of Tulsa more like  the great businesses represented in this room today.  I didn’t come here today for us to rest on our laurels. In a city with high expectations, we are  always focused on the road ahead and the big goals to be accomplished. Today, I want to  share five major announcements with you.  The first is around real estate development. For years, the City of Tulsa has relied upon a  Frankenstein regulatory monster to manage real estate development within the city limits. It’s  not literally a Frankenstein monster. That would be amazing, but it’s a metaphor. Our  development process is overly cumbersome, and it has unquestionably hurt our ability to grow.  When it comes to development, we are not competitive enough in Tulsa County – let alone in  the region. So, we’ve decided that managing the problem isn’t good enough. We are blowing up  the process and starting from scratch with a new approach.  We are shifting to what is known as self-certification. Basically, the City will authorize architects  and engineers to certify building code compliance on behalf of their clients instead of running  them through the City bureaucracy. The City will audit a percentage of the projects and if a  particular architect or engineer isn’t doing it correctly they can have their certification privilege  removed. The City doesn’t allow high-risk projects, like high-rise buildings, to be self-certified  but for the vast majority of construction projects they move swiftly along. Phoenix in particular  has enjoyed great success with this approach.  The days of development in Tulsa being cumbersome and time-consuming are drawing to a  close. Instead, we will have one of the most innovative development processes in the country.  Our second major announcement is about Tulsa’s streets. First, it is important to  understand what a positive difference our street program has made over the last decade. If we  hadn’t passed those initiatives, our overall street quality in Tulsa would be a Pavement  Condition Index rating of 42 out of 100. Instead, thanks to Tulsa voters, we’ve carried out a  record amount of street work and have an overall Pavement Condition Index rating of 69 out of  100 (a 64 percent improvement to the overall PCI score vs. where we would have been with no  investment).  In case you haven’t noticed any street construction lately, we are working all over the City to  rehabilitate our 4,500 lane miles of streets from streets that look like this….  …to streets that look like this….  We still have a lot of work to do in the years ahead to get where we need to be. We need to  improve the speed with which we carry out these projects.  To that end, I am pleased to announce the establishment of a blue ribbon task force, which will  reform our street work process. It will be chaired by one of the most respected transportation  experts in the country, former Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Gary Ridley. Secretary  Ridley is here today, and I want to thank him for finding yet another way to help our city.  As we anticipate the continuation of the City’s decade-long focus on street repairs with a  general obligation bond renewal in 2018, I am eager for this group to lend their expertise in  improving the efficiency of our street projects citywide.  Our third announcement is an exciting partnership. We want Tulsa to be a national leader.  The pioneering work of our philanthropic community led the New York Times to dub us “Beta  City” because this is the place where new ideas in the not-for-profit world are tested. I want us  to live up to that in all we do.  One of the most important ways we can improve as a community is to better understand what  people hope for and expect from living in our city, what they think of the opportunities and  services being provided – what they do and don’t like, what they want to see blossom and what  they want to see go away. To this end, the City of Tulsa is partnering with the world’s  preeminent opinion research organization, Gallup, to establish the Gallup-Tulsa Citivoice Index.  The Gallup-Tulsa Citivoice Index will measure the most important outcomes for city residents  and provide local leaders with insights we can use in building the best city possible – as that  ideal is defined by Tulsans. Not only will it be incredibly useful for us in delivering a better city  for Tulsans, we believe it will instruct discussions around civic issues nationally.  Our fourth announcement involves Tulsa County. One hundred years ago, Tulsa was a rural  county. Tulsa had a few thousand people and was separated from neighbors like Broken Arrow  by miles of agricultural land. In the subsequent 100 years, those cities flourished. Today Tulsa is  an urban county of vibrant cities. Yet we are still relying on the same governmental arrangement  as we did 100 years ago, with overlapping responsibilities and duplication.  For years, people have talked about a merger of city and county government. Often, it is  couched in terms of a wholesale merger. Yet recent studies have shown that such mergers are  remarkably rare and attempts to pull them off usually prevent meaningful improvements. Much  greater success has been attained by merging particular functions.  To that end, I want to announce that the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Ron  Peters, and I are forming a City-County Parks Realignment Commission. The Commission will  be composed of several committed parks supporters. We have seen how City-County  authorities work when it comes to our Health Department, our Library System, and the River  Parks Authority. Now, we want to have a public and transparent review of a potential merger of  aspects of our parks systems into one healthy, accessible, well-maintained system that can  endure for future generations of Tulsans.  Our final announcement today is the most urgent.  In my first year on the City Council in 2008, the most pressing issue facing our community was  the unfunded street repair backlog. We spent months researching how to address the problem  and how much it would cost, engaged Tulsans in the discussion every step of the way, and  when it appeared on the ballot, Tulsans approved the largest streets improvement program in  Tulsa history.  Five years later, in 2013, we knew the job wasn’t finished. So again we spent months  researching what needed to be done and how much it would cost. We engaged Tulsans in the  discussion every step of the way, and when it appeared on the ballot, Tulsans approved a 50  percent increase over what was previously the largest streets improvement program in city  history.  Then the most pressing issue was that we didn’t have enough Police officers. But no one could  tell us how many we needed. The philanthropic community brought in one of the top policing  experts in the nation and she spent months studying our department. We then took her findings  and determined how to pay for them. We engaged Tulsans in the discussion every step of the  way, and when it appeared on the ballot, Tulsans approved the hiring of 160 new Police officers  by a 2:1 margin.  Then we didn’t feel we were competitive enough when it came to recruiting and retaining quality  talent. So we spent three years studying different economic development projects and how  much they would cost. We engaged Tulsans in the discussion every step of the way, and when  it appeared on the ballot last year, Tulsans approved Vision Tulsa – the largest economic  development program in our city’s history.  What is the lesson in Tulsa over the last decade? Through all that time we had different mayors  and a rotating cast of city councilors – so it isn’t specific to a person. My takeaway is that if we  all pull together, study our greatest challenges thoroughly, and present voters with a means of  fixing them, then Tulsans will fix any problem facing our community no matter how big it may be.  The quality of our educational system in Tulsa is the greatest economic development challenge  we face today. It is the greatest quality of life challenge we face today. It is the greatest criminal  justice challenge we face today. And I believe with every ounce of my being that if Tulsans  could fix it, we would.  But we can’t. Right now, we can pass property-tax initiatives to build football stadiums and fix up  buildings and buy iPads for kids – but if we pass a property tax to pay our teachers the kind of  wage that will keep them from fleeing to Arkansas or Texas, the state will reduce our allocation  by an equivalent amount. They will punish us for trying to help.  This upcoming legislative session, we are going to try to change the dynamic. We’re going to  quit waiting for someone else to save us, and try to empower Tulsans to take our destiny into  our own hands.  I am so thankful this is part of the Tulsa Regional Chamber’s One Voice agenda, but that is not  enough. We need every family, every business owner, every employee, every voter to let your  legislators know WE WANT TO HELP. We need their permission to help. I believe if they will let  us, we can address this challenge in the same way we’ve addressed those that came before us.  Thank you for this opportunity today. It is an exciting time in Tulsa, and our best days are  ahead.  Thank you.
  • At least five cars of the train derailed near Archer and Greenwood, blocking traffic on parts of Greenwood, Archer, and Elgin. Devonn Mann lives nearby and heard the accident.  “ I heard a loud crash and some banging but I just though they were changing the cars,” she told us. Mann is glad no one was hurt but is concered about traffic in the area. “It’s going to be crazy through here,” she said while looking at the scene. “It’s such a busy intersection and people are going to be turning around, crazy.” Railroad workers say a badly damaged section of track means it will take hours to fix the problem
  •  A tanker truck rolled over Sunday near Elm Street and the Creek Turnpike in Jenks. The driver told police a driver cut him off, causing him to turn sharply and lose control. The crash punctured one of the truck’s fuel tanks, causing 100 gallons of fuel to leak into a storm drain. Eastbound lanes of the Creek Turnpike near Elm Street in Jenks were closed for several hours Sunday. “The driver refused treatment and the other car took off” investigators said. They are seeking that person. A HAZMAT crew at the scene poured an emulsifying chemical into the drain, making the fuel easier to clean up. KRMG news has learned crews will flush out the chemical today.
  • The weekends weather will start beautifully before taking a turn for the worse. Increasing clouds will begin Friday with a slight chance of a sprinkle be the afternoon. Friday’s highs will be above average in the upper 70s ahead of Saturday's rain.  “It’s looking like more of a damaging wind event” National Weather Service forecaster Michael Lacy told us. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a more dangerous threat. “There could be a few spin-up tornados,” Lacy continued.  But there is good news. “The chances are pretty low for a tornado, especially like we saw August 6th,” he told us. Lacy thinks the storms will arrive “between 9PM and 10PM” with strong winds. “Probably 60-70 mph most likely.” The front is expected to move quickly leaving light rain through most of the night with accumulations of as much as two inches.  Youy can stay weather aware by checking the latest forecast and radar at KRMG.com and on the KRMG app.
  • Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Deborah Gist is set to stay in the district another three years. Gist’s base salary will remain just under $240,000 with a $1,500 per month stipend for a car and cellphone. The Tulsa Board of Education voted 6-1 to approve a three year contract for Gist. The Board says they've seen a 5 percent increase in the graduation rate under Gist's leadership between 2015 and 2016 and a 26 decrease in out-of-school suspensions in the 2016 and 2017 school year.  Her June 2018 retention bonus will decrease by 9 percent; her 2021 bonus will decrease by 28 percent. Her performance incentive, if earned, will be a contribution to her retirement, rather than a cash bonus  Gist released the following statement:  I am humbled, grateful, and beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to continue to lead the phenomenal team at Tulsa Public Schools for another three years. I was ecstatic to come home to Tulsa in 2015, and the joy that I experience each day as I follow my calling to serve Tulsa children and families has only grown. This has always been my dream job, and I feel blessed and incredibly fortunate to continue this journey to make Tulsa Public Schools the nation’s destination for excellence in teaching and learning.
  • The reigning MVP didn’t just dress up as Sidney Deane, he got former KU star Nick Collison to portray Billy Hoyle from the classic basketball movie 'White Men Can't Jump.' The fun came at the Thunder’s annual Halloween bash held over the weekend.  The movie is about two basketball street hustlers who team up to win more money in pick-up games. The Thunder party is legendary for outstanding costumes including OKC’s newest star Carmelo Anthony dressing as Night King from Game of Thrones. And still more....
  • Jason Aldean canceled multiple concerts after the mass shooting at a Las Vegas performance October 1st. Aldean was on stage when Stephen Paddock began raining bullets on the crowd, killing 58 and wounding hundreds.  Tonight the country star will resume his concert schedule at the BOK Center in Tulsa.  Doors open at 6:30 with the opening act taking the stage at 7:30. Aldean canceled concerts scheduled for Los Angeles, San Diego and Anaheim, California. 
  • Voters in Owasso vote today on a $57 million bond issue for Owasso Public Schools. The bond would build a new elementary school, add three new tornado shelters and bring facility upgrades across the district.   If it passes, Moore, a ninth elementary school with an EF-5 tornado shelter would be built west of Highway 169 and north of 116th Street North.   Owasso Mid High and Smith Elementary would also get storm shelters. There are plans to build a science wing at Mid-High School.   The bond would also replace old school buses, textbooks, classroom and library materials.   The district says the money is needed to deal with an increasing student body that shows no signs of slowing down. Superintendent Dr. Clark Ogilvie tells us the district is only 600 students from their overall capacity.
  • 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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  • 32-year-old Joseph Womble is serving an 11-year sentence for first-degree robbery. Womble says conditions at a state prison violated his constitutional rights. The inmate says that the ice machine and water fountain in his unit stopped working and that water from his cell sink was contaminated and made him sick. He also alleges that temperatures in his cell at the Mack Alford Correctional Center, in Stringtown, exceeded 90 degrees 15 times in June 2016, causing him to become dehydrated. A federal judge in Muskogee dismissed the lawsuit, but the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated it in a decision on Tuesday.
  • An employee of a gun range in Texas accidentally shot and killed a patron as he worked on a rifle Tuesday morning, police said.  The patron, Joshua Luke Cummings, 36, of Cypress, had just exited his vehicle in the parking lot of Hot Wells Gun Range when a bullet struck him in the head, KTRK in Houston reported. He was flown to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, where he died.Harris County Sheriff’s Office officials told the news station that an employee was working on a hunting rifle inside the building when it accidentally discharged. “The bullet went through the wall of the small range house and struck a patron who was walking through the parking lot,” Harris County Senior Deputy Thomas Gilliland told the news station.  It was not immediately clear why the rifle was loaded while the employee handled it. KTKR reported that homicide investigators were looking into whether it was human error or a gun malfunction that caused the gun to fire.  Cummings’ Facebook page shows that he was the father of three young children. Heartbroken friends said the Cummings children are triplets. A YouCaring fundraiser page was established to help his wife, Kathleen, and their children. As of noon Wednesday, the page had raised nearly $10,000 of the $25,000 goal.  “Josh Cummings has always been an amazing father, faithful, hardworking husband completely devoted to his faith, family and friends,” one woman wrote on Facebook. “Until we meet again, goodbye, our sweet friend.” Hot Wells officials apologized in a statement that they said would be brief because they “simply do not have the words to express the sorrow in (their) hearts.” “For 44 years, we have operated this facility accident-free, yet today, we are shaken by tragedy,” the statement read.  They said that they would have no comment on the details of the accident while the investigation was ongoing.  “We understand that this accident has, and will continue to affect the lives of many,” the statement read. “We ask that our community joins us in prayer for the healing of all parties involved.”
  • Japan’s recent decision to up its patrols in response to rising appearances ofimplies there might be a serious problem with North Korea’s food supply. >> Read more trending newsThe Guardian reports that at least 28 North Korean boats washed ashore or were found adrift in Japanese waters, the result of North Korean fishermen’s decision to push farther and farther out to sea to make bigger catches for their military, citizens and exports to China. Several of the vessels found were “ghost ships,” labeled as such when found with either a dead or missing crew. Though the number of stray vessels found in Japan this year is consistent with last year’s number, some have expressed concern for the high number of ships found in November compared to the number found last November. The Washington Post offered possible explanations for the spike in appearances, including food shortages which may be the result of tougher sanctions recently passed against the country. “North Korean fishermen have to work harder than ever before, and they have to go farther out into the sea, but they don’t have new boats,” said Atsuhito Isozaki, associate professor of North Korean studies at Keio University in Tokyo. “Plus, North Korea doesn’t have enough gasoline anymore, so they’re running out of fuel.” The concerning state of North Koreans’ food supply was highlighted last month following the dramatic rescue of a North Korean soldier who defected while on duty. Oh Chong Song abandoned his post in November and began to run toward South Korea. He was shot at more than 40 times by his fellow soldiers, and at least five bullets hit him. South Korean soldiers were able to crawl to the area where he lay and he was transportedto a hospital by a United Nations Command helicopter. While rushing to save his life, trauma surgeon Lee Cook-Jong discovered parasitic worms, some were over 10 inches long, in the soldier’s digestive tract. The worms, which have been discovered in other defectors, indicated the use of a detrimental, government-backed approach to health and agriculture in the country: night soil. “Night soil” is a fertilizer made up of human excrement and used by North Korean farmers. There is a perception in the country that night soil makes food taste better and the method has even been personally supported by dictator Kim Jong-Un. The five-hour surgery consisted of removing a bullet, fixing a number of wounds caused by the bullet and removing the parasitic worms that were making their way out of Oh Chong Song’s body. “In my over 20-year-long career as a surgeon, I have only seen something like this in a textbook,” Cook-Jong later said of the flesh-colored parasites he found.
  • Don’t accuse men of overreacting when they’re sick —, according to a new study. Dr. Kyle Sue, a clinical assistant professor in family medicine with the Memorial University of Newfoundland, published an article in the British Medical Journal, contending that men seem to experience worse symptoms of cold an flu than women. >> Related: 7 ways to prevent your child from getting the flu this season Sue’s study also noted that U.S. research showed men had higher rates of deaths linked to flu compared to women of the same age. “I do think that the research does point towards men having a weaker immune response when it comes to common viral respiratory infections and the flu,” Sue told The Guardian. “This is shown in the fact that they [have] worse symptoms, they last longer, they are more likely to be hospitalized and more likely to die from it.” In Ohio, for example, the flu seems to be impacting populations earlier than usual this year. The Ohio Department of Health said the state is above the five-year average for the number of cases reported at this time of year and “significantly higher” than the same time last year.