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Latest from Rick Couri

    In sports terms, it’s game night. The weeks. months, and in some cases, years of work come to a head as voters decide Oklahoma’s leadership team for the next several years. Here at the Bricktown Event Center in Oklahoma City, the GOP will host governor candidate Kevin Stitt and several other candidates while others, like republican congressional candidates Markwayne Mullin and Kevin Hearn stay in their districts. Follow along below for a timeline of how things go here just a few miles from where the candidates want to work. You can keep up with the national results here and watch below for the latest updates locally. 2:55pm - Arrived at the event center a bit early because the doors are suppose to open at 3:00pm. It seems that was only a suggestion as the media area is almost completely full but we wedged into a spot down front. 3:15pm - Good news from the Stitt campaign, they’ve negotiated a deal for free internet and power access at the venue. As of yesterday, the building wanted to charge all the media for not only Ethernet service, but connections to power and the “mult-box,” the framice providing access to the mic podium for all the media. 4:30pm - Not much happening other than technical issues for the last 90 minutes but the stage is set and volunteers are mostly in place. Doors are supposed to open at 6pm, we’ll see if they go early. 7:00pm - As the polls close the mood here is elevating quickly, this crowd senses something special is about to happen. 7:30pm - The returns are shoing it may not be as close as we thought, Stitt leading handily. 8:00pm - Kevin Stitt’s margin is growing fast, 10-12 points now. 8:40pm - Senator James Lanford joined us to break down the local and national races. He told us he’s not at all surprised. 8:55pm - Just got a text from the Stitt campaign, they tell me Mr. Edmondson called to concede. 9:38pm - Governor-elect Kevin Stitt is speaking, and declaring a big win. 9:48pm - All done here and Kevin Stitt will join us tomorrow at 7am on the KRMG Morning News.
  • It’s a big day for Tulsa as Vice President Mike Pence comes to town for a campaign rally boosting GOP candidate for governor, Kevin  Stitt. Below is a timeline of the event. Thursday, October 11th. - KRMG confirms VP Mike Pence would be coming to town a full 24-hours before anyone else in the state. Friday, October 12th. - The Stitt campaign confirms the VP will be here. Thursday, October 18th., 9:05AM. KRMG arrives at the Mabee Center for a look at the media set-up and plan for the days coverage. Some last minute changes forced media spots to be adjusted but KRMG was able to corral a spot on the floor of the even no more than 25 feet from the podium. There are already 20-25 people in line outside here. Thursday, October 18th, 10:00AM. - Media is allowed inside the venue to set up their gear. Thursday, October 18th, 11:00AM. - The Secret Service is clearing the building in order to carry out their security checks and sweep the building. Thursday, October 18th, 12:03PM  - The crowd is growing quickly , now closer to 150 people outside. Thursday, October 18th, 2:00PM - The doors are now open and media is checking in. We’re headed to our seat on the floor to broadcast. Thursday, October 18th, 3:50PM - Senators Jim Inhofe and James Lankford just came down to find KRMG for “before the speeches” interviews.  We’ll have more from both of them today. Thursday, October 18th, 4:25PM - The program is underway with a prayer from GOP state party chair Pam Pollard and the National Anthem and Pledge of Allegiance from Phil Armstrong. Thursday, October 18th,  4:30PM - Lt. Governor candidate Matt Pinnell is the first speaker, he took about three minutes. Thursday, October 18th, 4:34PM - First District congressional candidate Kevin Hearn takes the mic for three minutes. Thursday, October 18th, 4:37PM - The VP’s limo just arrived at the Mabee Center. Thursday, October 18th, 4:40PM - Congressman Markwayne Mullin is speaking. Thursday, October 18th, 4:44PM - We’re in a recess before the senators and Kevin Stitt speak leading up to the VP. Thursday, October 18th, 5:07PM - Senator James Lankford is energizing the crowd. Thursday, October 18th, 5:09PM - Senator Jim Inhofe is taking his turn at the mic. Thursday, October 18th, 5:14PM - Senator Jim Inhofe introducing Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Stitt. Thursday, October 18th, 5:17PM - The Stitt’s just made very brief remarks and quickly tossed this to VP Pence. Thursday, October 18th, 5:21PM - Vice President Mike Pence is at the podium in front of a cheering crowd. Thursday, October 18th, 5:45PM - Once VP Pence just finished up and is working the handshake line and making his way out of the Mabee Center . Thursday, October 18th, 6:15PM - The seats emptied quickly here and everyone is headed home .
  • It wasn’t ever close. North Texas raced to a 17-0 lead over Arkansas just 15 minutes into the game. During that start, it was a trick play punt return that solidified the win and demoralized the hogs.  Leading 7-0 the Mean Green forced a Razorback punt. Returner Keegan Brewer didn’t make a fair catch but pretends to do so. Watch below.
  • Republican Nebraska senator Ben Sasse paused only momentarily when called upon for his input during opening remarks of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing. Sasse opened by calling congress “impotent,” and then explaining why. “The reason these confirmation processes largely don’t work is because they’ve been hijacked by theatrics,” he began. Sasse then ripped into his colleagues for making shirking their jobs, saying all they do is “decide to give permission to the secretary or the administrator of bureaucracy X, Y, or Z to make law-like regulations.” Sasse calls the confirmation process an opportunity to teach civics with a “School House Rock,” approach. Listen to the entire speech here.
  • 3:55PM -  The wait begins as KRMG arrives to set up for the night as Oklahoman's choose between either Oklahoma City mayor Mick Cornett and Jenks businessman Kevin Stitt as the republican candidate for governor. The winner will face democrat Drew Edmondson in the November mid-term. 4:35PM - The candidate made a quick run though the watch part area at his Gateway Mortgage building in Jenks. Stitt visited briefly with staff and left to take care of other business until he returns after 7PM. The room is set up with standing level tables draped with white tablecloths and topped by red, white, and blue balloons. 5:00PM - Fox23 and KRMG’s Jackie DelPilar is with the Mick Cornett campaign in Oklahoma City. Jackie tells us the room is mostly empty other than media as we prepare for the polls to close. 6:05PM - Mick Cornett stopped through his watch party and quickly visits with reporters expressing confidence his team has done all it can to win the race. 6:12PM - The room is still 99% media for now but the catering is here and when the food arrives, can crowds be far behind? 7:00PM - It’s game time! The polls are closed and numbers will start to trickle in, then come fast and furious until we have a winner! 7:25PM - Kevin Stitt popped back into the room and came straight to the KRMG broadcast location to join us. He told me he’s relaxed and feels confident but understands it’s out of his hands now. His greatest hope is rural Oklahoma will vote for a person who does not have a political past. 8:01PM - A graphic flashed up on a screen here at the watch party showing Kevin Stitt with an 8-9 point lead statewide over Mick Cornett. That brought a cheer from this big crowd and it only amped up this group even more.  8:30PM - It’s over, Kevin Stitt is declared the winner of the GOP run-off and the crowd here us ecstatic. Stitt will join the KRMG Morning News live at 7:40AM Wednesday morning to talk about his win and look forward to the general election in November.
  • Races span the state from a chance to be Oklahoma’s next governor and the Tulsa County district attorney. National eyes will be on the state as voters choose the replacement for Jim Bridenstine, who left his office as the First District congressman to take over as the director of NASA.  In Broken Arrow the focus will include a huge bond package covering roads, safety, and parks. Check the links below for more and remember to tune in for complete coverage of the election beginning with a special edition of the KRMG Evening News from 5PM-7Pm followed by wall-to-wall coverage hosted by KRMG Morning News host Dan Potter with reporters at watch parties and events around the state. Find your polling place and see sample ballots. Election Board county by county races. List of precincts. Broken Arrow bond package.
  • Voice activated lights, doors, thermostats, and even televisions powered by artificial intelligence. But none of it can work with blazing fast wi-fi, and that’s where Cox comes in. “This is the Panoramic Wi-Fi device and it’s brand new,” Cox’s Bruce Berkinshaw told me. “The modem inside the router allows for gig internet speeds profligating the wall-to-wall Wi-Fi signal.”  So it’s fast, really fast. But it’s also better looking. “It has no blinking lights, it looks like just a little shelf speaker” Berkinshaw pointed out. And it works. One Panoramic unit is powering 60 devices in the Smart Home at the Village at Southern Trails in Broken Arrow.  Listen to some of the interviews from the Smart Home here. During a trip to the home I saw Wi-Fi connect cooking devices, security systems, augmented reality programs, and Trapollo, a medical managed service allowing healthcare providers and home health agencies to talk to patients at their homes.  Cox is also offering smart light bulbs, and other devices powered by Panoramic Wi-Fi. And the good news is, you can get it now. “This was launched one month ago, May 16th ins Tulsa” Berkinshaw explained. Check here to find out if you can get panoramaic Wi-Fi in your home.
  • You normally don’t need much more than the New York Yankees visiting Globe Life Park  to make for a fun evening at the ballpark. But when President George Bush is sitting near the dugout, and heckles a likeness of himself, things ramp up a bit. Near the end of a between innings race between Texas Legends, the President Bush character trailed those of Sam Houston and Nolan Ryan. When the ballonish mascot passed the president's box, Bush leaned forward and shouted “get moving.” That spurred the duplicate W to speed up and win the race. See the video below. The Rangers won a slug-fest over the Yankees, 12-10.
  • “It’s coming, it’s coming!” The words teacher Kim Martinez remembers hearing another teacher scream as a monster EF-5 tornado bore down on Plaza Towers elementary school in Moore, Oklahoma on May 20th, 2013. Martinez and another teacher, Nikki McCurtain rushed their class into a bathroom and threw themselves on top of as many kids as possible. Seconds later, the tornado hit. “It sounded like a train and everything began spinning” Martinez continued.  The twister ripped through the school, leveling it and killing seven children inside.  “When it was over I remember looking up and the whole roof was gone,” Martinez told us. I even looked up and could still see the debris ball.” When things settled Martinez and McCurtain’s students were shaken and bruised, but alive. Then they began looking for others. “That’s when it got really scary,” McCurtain began. “The 3rd graders were not coming out, it was really emotional and very, very scary.”   Seven of those 3rd-graders didn’t come out.  Today, Plaza Towers stands again. “It’s so beautiful and brings so much hope for our future” teacher McCurtain told KRMG as she stood near the school.  The entire kindergarten section of the school is an EF-5 rated tornado shelter large enough to  hold 650 people, that’s every student and staff member in the school.
  • UPDATE: Tulsa police confirm a 911 call from a citizen led them to Taheerah Ahmad and her daughter shortly after noon Tuesday. TPD Ofcr. Jeanne MacKenzie says the caller told them they’d seen a black Lexus in a parking lot in the 300 block of North Main Street, and believed the people in that vehicle might be Taheerah Ahmad and her eight-year-old daughter. When police arrived, they arrested Ahmad and took her in for questioning. The child was taken to the Child Crisis Center where experts in dealing with traumatized children can work with her to both help her and to get a statement from her about what happened. MacKenzie tells KRMG the child was not physically harmed. Police say Taheerah Ahmad allegedly stabbed her 11-year-old daughter multiple times and took off with her seven-year-old daughter, Hafza Hailey. A child, age nine, said Ahmad duct-taped the hands of the children, put socks in their mouths and stabbed the 11-year-old. She then reportedly left the scene. Officers said the nine-year-old was able to flee to a relative's home. The kitchen was also burning when officers arrived, according to officials.  Ahmad is around 6 feet tall and 190 pounds, according to police. The seven-year-old child is reportedly wearing an ankle-length peach dress and gold bracelets on her wrists. She has puffy hair in a ponytail.  Investigators believe Ahmad is in a Black Lexus RX300 with a paper tag or in a navy-blue Ford sedan.  Police said Ahmad has lived in Tennessee and Texas in the past, and they are not sure where she could be headed. The 11-year-old stabbing victim is in serious condition following surgery. Anyone who sees Ahmad or Hailee needs to call 911 or 918-596-2627.
  • 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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  • As the U.S. Senate prepared to cast votes for the first time on Thursday to end the partial government shutdown which began before Christmas, the two parties remained defiantly at odds in Congress over how best to resolve the impasse over the President’s call to fund a wall along the Mexican border, as lawmakers predicted the two plans being voted on in the Senate would both fail to get the necessary 60 votes to advance. “Open up the government, and then let’s talk,” said Senate Democratic Leader Charles Schumer, summing up the main hurdle between the two parties after almost five weeks, as Democrats won’t negotiate until the government is fully funded, while Republicans refuse to fund shuttered agencies until they get a deal on border security. “It’s just pure politics,” said brand new Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), who accused Democratic leaders of being in favor of doing nothing on border security. Meanwhile, back home, the stories were piling up of federal workers who were in financial difficulty, along with businesses who were feeling the pinch of the shutdown. Hey @realDonaldTrump, we are an American-owned company and we want to distribute a new beer, but the shutdown includes the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau… so we currently can't move forward. Please help. The people want the beer. #beer2020 — Prairie Artisan Ales (@prairieales) January 7, 2019 The first vote the Senate will take Thursday is on a bill which would fund all operations of the federal government, and include the immigration changes proposed on Saturday by President Donald Trump. “I think the President’s plan is a reasonable one,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH). “And that’s why I plan to support it.” “You don’t have to agree on everything in it – but he did put something new on the table,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), as Republicans decried another round of votes in the House on plans from Democrats to fund the government. “It’s one more pointless exercise,” Cole said – the House will vote Thursday on one more plan to fund the government, this time through February 28; that will make 10 funding bills sent to the Senate. “Ten times now the House of Representatives has done our job and voted, without preconditions, to end the shutdown and reopen the government,” said Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA). The latest vote came as hundreds of federal workers who have been furloughed from their jobs rallied in Senate office buildings on Wednesday, as they homemade signs written on paper plates. “Feed my family,” read one. “ENOUGH,” said another. “Do your job,” was one more. The one wildcard on Thursday is on the second vote which Senators will take, on a Democratic plan which combines money for disaster aid with funding for the government through February 8 – some Democrats hoped that a number of GOP Senators would vote for that plan, possibly seeing it as a way to end the deadlock, and pay federal employees who haven’t seen a check since late December. “We always hold out hope,” said Rep. Val Demings (D-FL), as the House and Senate seemed ready to go home on Thursday afternoon without any resolution to the border funding impasse, likely sending it into a sixth week, by far the longest shutdown ever for the federal government. If that does happen, 800,000 federal workers would miss a second paycheck on Friday, as the Senate is not expected to get 60 votes for either of the two plans being voted on Thursday afternoon.
  • The website Glassdoor.com has ranked the 50 best jobs in America, and it's not JUST about money, although salary is definitely one factor. The other two criteria are job satisfaction and the number of open jobs in each category. Jobs in the IT and medical fields dominate the list. We counted 14 of the 50 that are computer related. 8 are in the medical field. The top 3 jobs on the list are Data Engineer, Nursing Manager, and Marketing Manager. In fact, the word 'manager' shows up 23 times, so you might want to try to get some management experience along the way in your career. You can see the full list here.
  • Oklahoma Kevin Stitt stopped by Broken Arrow High School Wednesday morning to announce that the 2018 Oklahoma Teacher of the Year is a finalist for 2019 National Teacher of the Year. Donna Gradel is a science teacher. Under Gradel’s instruction, Broken Arrow students designed a way for Kenyan orphans to produce fish food for one-twelfth the current cost. “I constantly encourage them to dream big and make a difference in the world,” Gradel said. “They know our classroom is a safe, caring place to imagine and not be afraid to fail.” One of the four finalists will be named the 2019 National Teacher of the Year this spring by a national selection committee.  The winner will spend the next year traveling the country as an ambassador for education and an advocate for all teachers and students.  
  • Moments after announcing that the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year is one of four finalists to become National Teacher of the Year, Governor Kevin Stitt let it slip that he has plans to combine the cabinet positions of Secretary of State and Secretary of Education into one post. The man who will fill that post, Gov. Stitt told KRMG, is current Secretary of State Michael Rogers, a former Broken Arrow Representative who was appointed to his current position last November. Stitt was asked by a reporter how he plans to deal with the Oklahoma Department of Education under his administration, since it has its own elected official - State Superintendent of Public Education Joy Hofmeister. “It’s a little different of an agency since it’s directly elected by the people, and so my idea is just to spend a lot of time with her (Hofmeister), ask her what she needs, continue to meet with the teachers myself on the ground, see what they need, give her the resources that they need. “My Secretary of State is also my Secretary of State and Education, uh so we haven’t released that yet - I guess I released that just now,” Stitt said Wednesday. He went on to say “it was so important to me not have kind of another barrier between having a Secretary of Education, so that’s why I have my Secretary of State and Education, so we can just bring Joy Hofmeister in close, just to give her the tools that she needs.” Thursday, the Governor’s expected to sign his first executive orders, which sources in his office tell us will deal with his proposed realignment of state agencies. 
  • In an escalating personal confrontation, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told President Donald Trump on Wednesday that he would not be allowed to give his scheduled State of the Union Address to a Joint Session of Congress until a partial government shutdown has ended, an option that the President said would be ‘very sad’ for the nation. “I look forward to welcoming you to the House on a mutually agreeable date for this address when government has been opened,” the Speaker wrote in a letter to the President, as she said the House would not approve a resolution authorizing a speech by Mr. Trump in the House chamber at this time. Pelosi’s response came several hours after the President had sent his own letter to the Speaker, making clear that he planned to show up to speak to lawmakers on January 29. “It would be so very sad our Country if the State of the Union were not delivered on time, on schedule, and very importantly, on location!” the President wrote. BREAKING: Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the US House will not pass a resolution for the State of the Union until the government is reopened https://t.co/U2x43V9U1S pic.twitter.com/DXl4y2rTof — CNN International (@cnni) January 23, 2019 President Trump’s letter to Speaker Pelosi on the State of the Union pic.twitter.com/B4QN9hDJnv — Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) January 23, 2019 The dueling letters came amid the increasingly bitter debate over the longest government funding lapse in modern history, which seems likely to block paychecks again on Friday for some 800,000 federal workers. “I’m not surprised,” the President said during a White House photo opportunity when asked about the Speaker’s response. “It’s really a shame what’s happening with the Democrats. They’ve become radicalized.” In the halls of Congress, GOP lawmakers saw no reason why the President shouldn’t be allowed to speak to the nation from the House chamber. “He asked me yesterday what I thought about that,” said Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL). “I think he ought to come, I think he ought to give the State of the Union.” Democrats saw something different. “My instinct is that this exchange of letters is an intentional distraction from the fact that people are about to miss their second paycheck and the economy is slowing down,” said Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI). The first missed paycheck for most federal workers was on January 11; the next one will be this Friday.