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KRMG Morning News 'Stack of Stuff'

1.       KOTV - Parents who let their kids host wild parties could face tougher punishments. The House passed "Cody's Law" on Tuesday. The bill is named after Cody Greehaw, a Tulsa teenager who died from a drug and alcohol overdose. Under the bill, anyone who allows underage drinking on their property could be charged with a misdemeanor and face $500 fines.

2.       KOTV - There are new developments for the family of Jeremiah Mitchell, the little boy from Oologah who had his arms and legs amputated after contracting bacterial meningitis. Jeremiah's family will soon move into a home of their own thanks to the generosity of fellow Oklahomans. Jeremiah's mom looked at more than 100 houses and finally found the one just days away from the one year anniversary of the meningitis outbreak.

3.       FOX23 - If you’re wondering why airfares have risen so quickly, just look halfway around the world in Libya. The ongoing political tensions in the Middle East have sent oil prices soaring across the globe. A plane ticket that cost $200 in January might set you back $260 if you booked right now. Airline industry experts say fares will just keep rising as we head toward the summer travel season. The next six months will likely be the worst fare surge since the summer of 2008, when oil prices went sky-high. There's one big difference: extra fees, such as those for luggage and peak travel surcharges, didn't exist back them. Travelers are asking the airlines cut them a break.

4.       TULSA WORLD - Tulsans today will join Christians around the world in the observance of Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer and self-examination leading up to the celebration Easter and the resurrection of Jesus. During Ash Wednesday services, many Catholic and Protestant worshippers receive a mark of ashes on the forehead, a symbol of repentance. Lent is an important part of the Christian calendar in liturgical churches, and normally is less emphasized in nonliturgical, evangelical churches, although some of them are beginning to introduce Lenten practices. While Western churches - Roman Catholic, Protestant and Anglican - begin Lent on Wednesday, Eastern Orthodox churches began Great Lent on Monday, called "Clean Monday."

5.       TULSA WORLD - Some City Councilors on Tuesday questioned the timing of the Legal Department's analysis of the city's personnel policy that allowed for the hiring of Interim City Attorney David Pauling. At issue is whether the Legal Department changed the policy definition that otherwise may have prohibited Pauling's hiring because his wife, Nancy McNair, is also an assistant city attorney. The current personnel policy states "immediate family members" cannot work in the same city unit or under the direct supervision of each other. Personnel Director Erica Felix-Warwick told councilors that prior to the legal analysis, anytime a promotion or employment application would put a married couple in the same department, "we would have raised issue with that." When the administration considered hiring Pauling, the issue arose again, but it was determined that the policy's definition of immediate family members being "by blood or marriage" no longer meant spouse.

6.       NEWSOK.COM - Apparently Oklahoma isn't that happy. The Sooner State ranked No. 38 among all 50 states when it comes to our general well-being, according to a recent Gallup Poll. Hawaii, of course, won. Show offs. Apparently things aren't going too well in West Virginia. They came in last.

7.       A magnitude 7.2 earthquake has struck northern Japan. The quake hit at 11:45 a.m. (Wednesday) local time. The country’s meteorological agency immediately issued a tsunami alert for its northeastern coast, however no oceanic disturbance has been recorded. Although the quake’s epicenter was located some 200 miles north of the city, the Associated Press reports that the strong earthquake shook buildings in Tokyo. There were no immediate reports of damage or injuries, but officials are still assessing the situation.

8.       The Obama administration on Tuesday appealed a judge's ruling in Florida that struck down its landmark healthcare overhaul law as unconstitutional because it required Americans to buy healthcare insurance or face a penalty. President Barack Obama's Justice Department filed its notice of appeal and the case will go to the Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, based in Atlanta. The fight over the law is expected to reach the Supreme Court.

9.       WELFARE NATION - Government payouts—including Social Security, Medicare and unemployment insurance—make up more than a third of total wages and salaries of the U.S. population, a record figure that will only increase if action isn’t taken before the majority of Baby Boomers enter retirement. Even as the economy has recovered, social welfare benefits make up 35 percent of wages and salaries this year, up from 21 percent in 2000 and 10 percent in 1960, according to TrimTabs Investment Research using Bureau of Economic Analysis data.

10.   Space shuttle Discovery floats over southern Morocco during the ISS fly-around before departing to return to Earth. Everything looks good for the final landing of the space shuttle Discovery today (March 9), NASA officials say. Discovery is scheduled to land at Florida's Kennedy Space Center Wednesday at 11:57 a.m. EST (1657 GMT), bringing an end to its 13-day STS-133 mission — and to the workhorse orbiter's days in space. Discovery will end its spaceflying career with tomorrow's landing. If all goes as planned, the shuttle program as a whole will be retired later this year.

11.   CNBC - PORTLAND, Maine - The federal government Tuesday granted Maine a waiver of a key provision in President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, citing the likelihood that enforcement could destabilize the state's market for individual health insurance. The U.S. Health and Human Services department said in a letter it would waive the requirement that insurers spend 80 cents to 85 cents of every premium dollar on medical care and quality improvement. Instead, the letter said, the state could maintain its 65 percent standard for three years, with the caveat that HHS intends to review the figures after two years.

12.   (AP) CHICAGO – Was your kid born to be an elite athlete? Marketers of genetic tests claim the answer is in mail-order kits costing less than $200. Some customers say the test results help them steer their children to appropriate sports. But skeptical doctors and ethicists say the tests are putting profit before science and have a much greater price tag — potentially robbing perfectly capable youngsters of a chance to enjoy activities of their choice. "In the `winning is everything' sports culture, societal pressure to use these tests in children may increasingly present a challenge to unsuspecting physicians," according to a commentary in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association. Scientists have identified several genes that may play a role in determining strength, speed and other aspects of athletic performance. But there are likely hundreds more, plus many other traits and experiences that help determine athletic ability, said Dr. Alison Brooks, a pediatrician and sports medicine specialist at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.

13.   A spokesman says NPR is "appalled by the comments" made by a former executive in the latest media punking effort.   In a video released yesterday morning, operatives working for conservative filmmaker JAMES O'KEEFE targeted two NPR executives, one of whom expressed opinions that quickly generated outrage among conservatives.   The premise for the meeting: A potential $5 million donation from the fake Muslim advocacy group whose fake website claimed "was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America."   It's NPR senior executive RON SCHILLER who does nearly all the talking and who provides the money quote: That tea partiers have hijacked the Republican Party and that they are not "just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it's scary. They're seriously racist, racist people."   He also told his lunch companions that he was "very proud of" how NPR fired commenter JUAN WILLIAMS and remarks that "it is very clear that in the long run we would be better off without federal funding."   Schiller was in charge of fundraising. He had nothing to do with the newsroom or personnel decisions. He had already resigned from NPR, having taken a job last month for the Aspen Institute. (NPR says his anticipated departure was moved up and is "effective immediately.")   NPR, incidentally, refused the $5 million-dollar offer from the phony group.

14.   In another step in its march towards domination of the Internet, Facebook will now allow users to rent movies and watch them online. Warner Bros. is testing a service that will offer select movies for streaming rental or purchase through the public pages of those movies on Facebook. As of yesterday, Facebookers who go the official page of Batman: The Dark Knight can click a "watch" icon for $3, or 30 Facebook credits, and see the movie as many times as they want for 48 hours. Warner Bros. said it will add other movies in coming months. If other movie studios follow Warner Bros.' lead, a big loser in all this could be Netflix, and in fact the company's stock closed down 5.8 percent yesterday.

15.   A Missouri high school teacher has quit her job after one of her students discovered online that she'd acted in pornographic films in the past. Local TV station KMOV reported that Tera Myers, who taught at Park North High School near St. Louis, was suspended from a school in Kentucky five years ago when the same discovery was made. Myers has called her porn acting more than 15 years ago her worst mistake. District officials told KMOV that they were unaware of Myers' background, and that since her porn acting wasn't illegal, it didn't show up on a background check. They also said that none of her references talked about that aspect of her past.

QUESTIONS: Should someone like Myers, who hasn't done porn in more than 15 years and has turned her life around, be allowed to teach? Even if the school were to back Myers, do you think it would have been difficult to have the necessary respect of the students once they knew she'd worked in porn? In addition to doing background checks, should schools also ask prospective teachers about potentially scandalous, but not illegal behavior, in their pasts, such as working in porn?

16.   The Philadelphia archdiocese yesterday (March 8th) suspended 21 Catholic priests who were named as child molestation suspects in a grand jury report last month. The two-year grand jury investigation resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher who are accused of raping young boys, and a former high-ranking church official was accused of transferring priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex-abuse complaints against them. The grand jury also named 37 priests who remained in the active ministry despite credible allegations of sexual abuse, despite U.S. bishops reforming their policies several years ago as they promised to keep potential abusers from children. The grand jury report further found that a panel set up by the Philadelphia archdiocese after an earlier 2005 grand jury probe mostly worked to protect the church, not the victims.

17.   Census figures show that America's population center is edging southwest away from the Midwest, driven in large part by Hispanic growth, with the historic shift changing the traditional idea of the nation's heartland, viewed as the symbol of mainstream American beliefs and culture. Figures from the 2010 Census show that the West is now home to the four fastest-growing states, which are Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho, and has surpassed the Midwest in population. It's believed that next month when the country's new mean center of population is announced -- which is the middle point of the nation's population distribution -- it will be in or around Texas County, Missouri, southwest of the present location of Phelps County, Missouri, and on track to leave the region by the middle of the 21st century. The last time the nation's center was outside the Midwest was 1850, when it was further east.

18.   A near-mint condition copy of the 1962 comic book in which Spider-Man debuted has been sold for $1.1 million. The "Amazing Fantasy" Number 15 issue was sold Monday (March 7th) by a private seller to a private buyer. ComicConnect.com chief executive Stephen Fishler told AP that although it's not the highest price ever paid for a comic book -- with that record held by the $1.5 million paid for a copy of the 1938 comic book in which Superman debuted -- it's the most for one from the mid-1950s to about 1970, which is known as the Silver Age. It's usually been comic books from the Golden Age, from the late 1930s to the early 1950s, that draw that kind of money.

19.   CBS and Warner Bros. are reportedly forging ahead with a Charlie Sheen-less Two and a Half Men. The New York Times reported that since just Charlie's firing -- and not the end of the show -- was announced this week, it's likely that the comedy will return. Meanwhile, multiple sources have reported that series creator Chuck Lorre is in talks with Rob Lowe to replace Sheen on the series. Lowe currently stars on NBC's Parks and Recreation. Last week -- before Sheen was fired -- John Stamos's name repeatedly came up as a potential replacement, but at the time he denied the possibility. Charlie Sheen publicly lashed out at his former bosses on Tuesday night's internet broadcast of Sheen's Korner. He called his firing an "infantile wrong" and implied that Chuck Lorre is an alcoholic who will eventually fall off the wagon. Charlie Sheen is angry at his former Two and a Half Men co-star Jon Cryer for not reaching out to him in the wake of the show fall-out. He told E! News on Tuesday, "Jon has not called me. He's a turncoat, a traitor, a troll. Clearly he's a troll." He added, "Like I said: You're with me, or you're with the trolls. Obviously he's with the trolls."

20.   Martin Scorsese is in trouble with the tax man. The New York Post reported that the Oscar-winning director was recently hit with a $2.85 million IRS tax lien. The number includes what the IRS believes Scorsese owes in taxes and related interest and penalties -- and means they are entitled to money from any sales of his real estate. Martin's trouble likely stems in part from his relationship with Kenneth Starr, a financial adviser who mismanaged and stole money from celebrity clients. Scorsese fired him last year, less than 5 months before Starr was arrested for running a $33 million Ponzi scheme.

21.   A Michigan dentist was arrested last Saturday on credit card theft and forgery charges after he allegedly went pizza shopping with a college student's lost credit card. A college student who dropped his card in the parking lot of a shopping plaza called to cancel it when he got home. The credit card company told the student that the card had already been used at a pizzeria in the same shopping plaza. The student then called police who showed up at the pizza place and found the dentist waiting on his pizza. The bill came to $40.64 and the dentist had $250 cash in his pocket. The police asked if he was strapped for cash and he replied, "Absolutely not." The dentist reportedly also said his net worth was between $3 million and $4 million.

22.   Staff at Figtree High School in Australia have banned hugging between students. Parents are outraged and believe hugging has been banned as a way to stop affectionate behavior between students during school time. One parent said, "If they can ban hugging, what are they going to do next -- ban smiling?" The high school's website says it aims, "to provide a safe and caring environment where students, regardless of diversity, disadvantage or disability, reach their highest potential through positive and enriching learning experiences." Students who are caught hugging will be sent to the deputy's office and sent home.

23.   Traffic congestion in 70 of the nation's 100 biggest metro areas was up 11 percent over last year and it's expected to get worse.  That's the upshot of a report by a firm called INRIX, which tracks traffic congestion.  Forty-one of those cities saw congestion exceed 2006 levels, the year before the recession took out a lot of jobs and took people off the road.  The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M, which produces an annual survey of traffic congestion in the U-S, found that we spent 4.8 billion hours slowed or stuck in traffic due to congestion during 2009, an average of 34 extra hours spent on the road. The price tag for time wasted and fuel spent to be on the road is currently $808 per driver, and that's pre-$100 a barrel oil. Overall, the cost of congestion has risen from $24 billion in 1982 to $115 billion in 2009.  Even with gas prices flirting with $4 a gallon, congestion is going to get worse. Population growth means increasing gridlock at nearly every hour of the day, and as the economy improves and millions go back to work, it'll get even worse.

24.   Forbes' annual list of the world's wealthiest individuals is out today, and Microsoft founder BILL GATES is no longer on top.   The new list features Mexican "tycoon" CARLOS SLIM as the world's richest man with Bill Gates at number two.   According to one wealth research firm, "it wouldn't be a competition" if Gates hadn't "discovered philanthropy." But Gates has given away $28 billion, or almost a third of his wealth, leaving him with a meager $49 billion. (Slim is sitting on $60 billion.)   WARREN BUFFETT is the bronze medalist with $47 billion. He and Gates have both spent the last few years giving away money and urging other filthy rich folks to part with their cash.

25.   Oil prices declined for the first time in three days as OPEC members held informal talks over pumping more oil into the global economy.   What can OPEC actually do about oil prices? Quite a lot. OPEC's got a lot of spare capacity, especially Saudi Arabia. It usually keeps a lot of its available oil off the market in order to keep up the price. So, in a crisis like now, when there's a danger of the price spiraling much higher and damaging the global economy, they can pump more crude.

26.   Two 911 calls went out at the site of Portland burglary Monday night --one from the homeowner and one from the burglar who was afraid the owner might be armed. According to the Portland Oregonian, 24-year-old TIM CHAPEK wasn't just in the house when the owner showed up with his two German shepherds --he was in the bathroom taking a shower.   Fearing the homeowner was armed, Chapek locked himself in the bathroom and called 911.   The owner, discovering the intruder in his home, also called the 911 to report the burglary.   Officers arrived to arrest Chapek on charges of first-degree criminal trespass.

27.   A Florida man has filed a lawsuit against a paramedic for allegedly stealing his severed foot.   WESH-TV reports KARL LAMBERT lost his foot in a car crash in 2008. Paramedic CINDY ECONOMOU later admitted she took Lambert's foot from the scene to help train her cadaver-sniffing dog. Economou resigned soon after the incident. Lambert claims the paramedic removed his foot rather than transporting it to a hospital where it could have been reattached.

28.   The Bakersfield Condors minor league hockey team is having a Charlie Sheen themed night. This Saturday, if you bring a clean drug test, you get in free. Dress like any Sheen movie character (or wear the hat he wears on the show) and your ticket will cost just $2.50. And if you bring $2 million bucks --what Sheen got per episode of "Two and a Half Men"-- you can own the whole team.   First thousand males to show up get a Sheen face on a stick mask.   They're also making Sheen's two "goddesses" honorary captains for the game. They're a no-show for sure.

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  • You may have heard the storms overnight in and around the Tulsa area.   The possibility of storms continues on Sunday.  This is especially true during the morning hours.   “We’ll probably start the morning with lingering storm chances,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Lacy said.  “Those storm chances will gradually go away during the afternoon.” The high for Sunday will be close to 91 degrees.   The Tulsa area will have more chances for storms Sunday night.  NWS is reporting the low will be near 77 degrees.  
  • A 37-year-old Broken Arrow man faces a long list of sexual-related charges in connection with having an alleged sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl.  Court records show Larado Smith was charged on Friday with 12 counts of second-degree rape and three counts of forcible sodomy.  Tulsa World reports the sexual acts apparently happened at the girl's home when her parents were not home.  When police found out about what was going on, a sting was set up. They posed as the girl over social media.    Smith showed up at the teenager's home and was arrested.  He has been booked into the Tulsa County Jail.  
  • Today may not be the best day for outdoor activities. National Weather Service Meteorologist Mike Teague says to keep an umbrella handy.  This is especially true during the afternoon hours.   “We are still holding on for a chance of showers and thunderstorms during the day,” Teague said.  “Again, another chance of showers and thunderstorms late into the evening.” The high is expected to reach around 86 degrees. There is better news for Sunday.  The sun is expected to come out, storm chances are low and the high will be close to 93 degrees.  
  • As President Donald Trump this week threatened $200 billion in new tariffs on Chinese imports, and then warned Europe that he would slap a 20 percent tariff on imported automobiles, members of both parties Congress accused the administration of starting a trade war which could cause collateral economic damage across the United States. The differences were on display at a hearing Wednesday with Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who took a bipartisan tongue lashing on a recent round of tariffs levied on imported steel and aluminum from Canada, Mexico and Europe. “We’re picking winners and losers,” argued Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who said those tariffs were already hurting businesses in his home state. “Probably resulting – in my view – in far more jobs being lost than being gained,” Toomey told Ross, citing a very well-known Pennsylvania company that could find it less expensive to move jobs from the U.S. to Canada. Sen. @PatToomey tells Ross that $KHZ moved some @HeinzKetchup_US manufacturing to Pennsylvania from Canada – but could move back now that Canada plans to tax American ketchup as retaliation for steel and aluminum tariffs. — Kayla Tausche (@kaylatausche) June 20, 2018 Almost every Senator on the panel had a story of a small business that was feeling the pinch due to Trump Administration tariffs, impacting all sorts of agricultural products, as well as manufacturing, big and small. “Do you think we’re in a trade war right now?” asked Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA). “Because I do,” as Cantwell rattled off farm products that were losing markets because of retaliatory tariff measures. Ross downplayed the cost of higher imported steel and aluminum, basically making the case that economic hardships were being overplayed. “It’s a fraction of a penny on a can of Campbell’s soup, it’s a fraction on a can of Budweiser, it’s a fraction on a can of Coke,” Ross said. That did not please the Senator from the state of Coca-Cola. “Although a couple of pennies on a can is not much, a couple pennies times a billion is lots,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA). “We’re hit harder than any other state by the Canadian retaliatory tariffs,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), warning the Trump Administration against tariffs on imported automobiles, as GOP Senators labeled such actions a tax on consumers. “Steel prices are going up – not just for foreign steel subject to tariffs, but also for U.S. steel,” complained Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT). “Mexico’s buying their wheat from Argentina and their corn from Brazil,” said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), as he told Ross that Kansas wheat exports were encountering troubles because of new retaliatory tariffs on U.S. exports, bringing bad economic news on the farm report. Ross simply told Senators if other countries put new tariffs on U.S. exports, that was out of his control. “We have no control over what another country does in retaliation,” Ross said. The bipartisan complaints clearly had no impact, as by Friday, President Trump was on Twitter, issuing new threats against European auto imports. Based on the Tariffs and Trade Barriers long placed on the U.S. & its great companies and workers by the European Union, if these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 23, 2018 As Democrats registered their opposition, they also couldn’t help but note the oddity of a Republican President going against what’s been a bedrock belief of the GOP. “I feel like I’ve gone down a rabbit hole,” said Sen. Clare McCaskill (D-MO), who said she found it hard to believe the party of free trade now had a President in office who was doing the exact opposite. “In a chaotic and frankly incompetent manner, you’re picking winners and losers,” McCaskill told Ross. But for the President, this is about re-setting trade deals, which he says were tilted against the United States. #President #Trump #speaking in #Duluth, #Minnesota: We want fair & reciprocal #trade not stupid trade that we've had for years. We've been ripped off by all of our friends. And frankly the do a much better job than our enemies. #MAGA #economy #POTUS #TrumpTrain — Leanne Howard Kenney (@neeneebucket) June 21, 2018 “As far as trade is concerned with other countries, we want fair and reciprocal trade, we don’t want stupid trade like we had for so long,” the President said at a rally in Minnesota. “Remember the world reciprocal,” Mr. Trump said. “We have been ripped off by almost every country on Earth, our friends and our enemies.” “But those days are over,” the President said to cheers from the crowd. But while they’re cheering Mr. Trump on the stump, at the U.S. Capitol, they’re worried about a trade war. “We’re getting into a war that’s going to cost lots of billions of dollars,” Isakson warned.
  • There was a big setback for the group challenging the tax hikes to pay for teacher pay raises on Friday. The Oklahoma Supreme Court said the petition from Oklahoma Taxpayers United is invalid. Oklahoma's highest court handed down the ruling Friday morning and ordered that the initiative not appear on an election ballot. Justices said the wording of the petition is misleading and those who sign it don't know what they would vote on. The Legislature earlier this year voted to hike taxes on cigarettes, fuel and energy production.