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Latest from Rick Couri

    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.
  • The KRMG Morning News spent day one of the teacher walk-out talking to key members of local school districts and anyone else who wanted to grab the microphone. Here all the comments on the links below, then download or open the KRMG app and leave us your opinion! Broken Arrow teacher, and Oklahoma teacher of the year Donna Gradel.  Tulsa public school superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist. Broken Arrow schools superintendent Dr. Janet Dunlop. Sapulpa superintendent Dr. Robert Armstrong. Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum. Union schools superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler. Key elementary principal Doug Howard, and Key 1st grade school teacher Kelly Vilner. Owasso teacher and assistant football coach Justin Morsey.  
  • The Tulsa police department boasts one of the highest homicide solve rates in the nation. One of the biggest reasons is the man in charge of that group, Sgt. Dave Walker. Walker joined the KRMG Morning News for an in-depth hour covering Tulsa’s high homicide rate, how he deals with the tragedy, how cases are investigated, and the effects of being featured on the TV show “The First 48.” It’s a riveting and revealing look inside one of America’s most successful crime solving units. You can listen to the entire interview here.
  • Bartlesville police found 11-year-old Kyson Bosman on the bank of the Caney River. Searchers confirm Kyson was alert and talking but had taken a fall so medical personnel will check him over before sending him home. Original story below: Bartlesville police are searching for a missing autistic child who could be in danger. 11-year-old Kyson Bosman was last seen in his backyard in the Oak Park neighborhood around 6pm. Kyson was last seen wearing  a dark blue and grey track suit with an orange t-shirt. He also wears braces on his legs for Cerebral Palsy. . Investigators think Kyson may be headed toward Osage Hills State Park. If you see someone fitting the description or who look slike the picture aboce, please call Bartlesville police at (918) 338-4001
  • Projects along Highway 169 and Riverside drive in Tulsa will impact drivers for several weeks.   Northbound Highway 169 between 41st and 51st streets will be narrowed to two lanes starting Monday morning.  The work will also close entrance and exit ramps at 51st Street and the eastbound Broken Arrow expressway ramp. ODOT expects the work to continue into March.  On city streets, crews will be working on a project near 41st and Riverside for a month if weather permits. Workers will remove the top layer of asphalt and patch areas needing repair underneath it.   During the work, street crews will close lanes as needed, but they say they will keep at least one lane open in each direction
  • Wednesday begins mostly dry across most of Tulsa and the surrounding area. But that’s likely to change as a new front pushes up from Texas by mid-afternoon.  Freezing rain, mist, and possible sleet some of the expected conditions as a Winter Weather Advisory runs from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.   EMSA says medics tell us they responded to 23 crashes Tuesday, likely due to rain or wet conditions. None of the injuries were serious.  Chuck Hodges of the National Weather Service tells us how bad things get depends on one thing. “Surface temperatures in this type of thing are so critical,” he explains. “If we start getting temperatures hanging around in the upper 20’s that’s when we’ll start seeing issues on the roadways,” Hodges continued.  ODOT and the city confirm they will be watchingonditions and have crews standing by to treat roadways as needed. Crews focusing on bridges and overpasses and recommend allowing extra travel time during the evbning commute.   
  • The video opens with game warden Marni Loftis explaining about the animal.  “They’re extremely strong, powerful birds and catching them can be a little bit difficult” she begins. “But we’re going to get him caught and take him to a wildlife rehabilitater where he can can be healed up by vets at the Tulsa zoo.” Once captured the eagle was taken to the rescue facility at Wild Heart Ranch near Claremore where Annette King took over. “On examination this looks like a through-and-through wound to me” she begins. King then describes the wound more in-depth.  “We’re almost an inch deep into this part of the wing,” she continues. Then King gives the bad news. “this part of the wing is going to have to be amputated” she reveals. But there is good news. Vets think the bird will live as long as there are no infection issues followihg surgery. The eagle is now at the Tulsa zoo where it will be rehabbed and live out it’s years. The following is from the Oklahoma Game Warden’s Facebook page. “The eagle was likely shot near where it was found, north of Sandusky in Delaware County around 495 Rd. If you have information about this incident, please contact Game Warden Marni Loftis at 918-533-2678 or call Operation Game Thief for an anonymous report at 1-800-522-8039, either way, you could receive a reward for information that leads to a conviction.”
  • Schools in the Tulsa area responding to Wednesday’s shootings of 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. “We are on top of this” Tulsa schools superintendent Dr. Deborah Gist told us early Thursday morning. “We take these situations seriously and prepare for them” she continued. “Because we have a campus police department, we are able to have and practice our emergency plans.” Each school has an armed officer on-location and the district continues to make each physical location safer. “We have more and more buildings with more modern, secure entrances.” We asked Gist to explain how their system works. “Entrances have a buzzing system” she began explaining.   “The system allows you into a secured area that accesses the office but not the rest of the building.”  When asked what she’d like to say to parents and lawmakers Gist took a deep breath and began. “There’s no one thing that can be done to prevent these incidents, but there are a combination of things.” She explains some of those include “security, mental and emotional health, and gun security while figuring out what we can do together to prevent these things.” Gist closed with a message about money. “It requires funding,” she said flatly. “It requires us to maximize the funding we have but it does require funding.” Do your kids feel safe at school? Use this link to download the KRMG app and leave us your thoughts using the open mic.
  • 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. 

    Read More
  • Under growing pressure from the House to change how lawmakers deal with workplace harassment claims and damage awards, the Senate on Thursday approved a package of reforms that would not allow members to use taxpayer funds to pay any legal settlements, and change the process for Congressional employees to bring complaints against lawmakers. “This is an incredibly important moment,” said Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who joined with Senators in both parties to forge a compromise that was approved on a voice vote. “We are completely overhauling the sexual harassment policies of the Congress,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor. The Senate just passed bipartisan reforms to fix Congress's broken process for reporting sexual harassment, and finally end taxpayer-funded harassment settlements. This is a big step in the right direction towards transparency and accountability. — Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) May 24, 2018 “These reforms are commonsense,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who had been more and more vocal in recent days about the lack of action on a similar measure passed by the House. Along with streamlining the process for employees to bring a complaint – and then have it evaluated by Congressional officials – the plan would force members to personally pay for any legal settlement, and not have taxpayers foot the bill. “Hardworking taxpayers should not foot the bill for a Member’s misconduct, and victims should not have to navigate a system that stands in the way of accountability,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO). The extra protections for employees would also be extended to unpaid staffers on Capitol Hill, including interns, legislative fellows, and detailees from other executive branch offices. As the Senate approved the plan, the leaders of the House Ethics Committee confirmed that ex-Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) had reimbursed taxpayers for a $39,000 settlement involving a former female staffer in his office. “We understand he sent that reimbursement payment to the Treasury. We welcome that action,” said ethics chair Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), and the top Democrat on the panel, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), in a joint statement. “There is overwhelming bipartisan consensus in the House that Members should be personally accountable for settlements paid with public funds to resolve claims against them alleging sexual harassment,” Brooks and Deutch wrote in a statement. But what about when lawmakers leave the Congress? The ethics leaders said even then – they should still have to pay up. Ethics committee writes in new letter they believe “any proposal to reform the CAA should include provisions to ensure that Members remain personally liable for their own conduct with respect to discrimination and retaliation & that they remain liable even if they leave Congress” — Alex Moe (@AlexNBCNews) May 24, 2018 Brooks and Deutch also noted that ex-Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) – who had resigned without following through on a promise to pay off an $84,000 settlement – was a perfect example of why the system needs to be changed. “Farenthold publicly promised to reimburse the U.S. Treasury for $84,000 in funds paid to settle the lawsuit brought against him for claims of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation,” they wrote. “Last week, he announced that he would not do so,” the two added. The House and Senate must still hammer out a compromise measure between the bills passed by each chamber – but the Senate vote gives a new shot of energy to the effort, though there are House members who feel the Senate plan is not strong enough, especially in dealing with lawmakers. “I’m optimistic that we can finish the job and get this bill signed into law,” Gillibrand added.
  • The opioid epidemic has now made its way into marine life in Washington’s Puget Sound. Scientists who track pollution have for the first time, discovered traces of oxycodone in mussels. >> Read more trending news  But scientists say those mussels don’t end up on your plate.  The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, or WDFW, gets clean mussels from Penn Cove on Whidby Island and puts them into areas they want to test for water contamination – like in urban waters. And they’ve discovered there’s enough oxycodone in Elliot Bay for mussels to test positive.  “What we eat and what we excrete goes into the Puget Sound,” said Jennifer Lanksbury, a biologist at the WDFW.  Scientists deposit mussels in cages in 18 locations. They teamed up with the Puget Sound Institute to analyze the data and discovered that three locations were positive for trace amounts of oxycodone - two near Bremerton’s shipyard and Elliot Bay near Harbor Island. “It’s telling me there's a lot of people taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound area. The contamination is likely coming from wastewater treatment plants,” Lanksbury said.  >> Trending: Sunken treasure worth $17 billion on 300-year-old shipwreck discovered off Colombian coast After people consume oxycodone, some of it ends up in the toilet, and it goes into wastewater. The water gets filtered, but King County Wastewater Management said although their system can catch a lot of contaminants, it can't specifically filter out drugs.  >> Trending: Great Pacific Garbage Patch 16 times larger than estimates: 87,000 tons of plastic and growing And opioids, antibiotics, drugs for depression - mussels are testing positive for all of it.  “Those are definitely chemicals that are out there in the nearshore waters and they may be having an impact on the fish and shellfish that live there,” Lanksbury said. Again, Lanksbury says people have nothing to worry about when it comes to eating mussels from a restaurant or shop because they come from clean locations. “They’re clean and healthy and delicious. We love to eat mussels from the Puget Sound. We use them for our food and we use them for contaminant analysis,” Lanksbury said.  But the study shows it’s another sign of what's ending up in the water and harming marine life.  “People should be wary,” Lanksbury said. “Hopefully our data shows what’s out there and can get the process started for cleaning up our waters.”  >> Trending: Your bottled water is probably contaminated with tiny plastic particles, health experts say This was a one-time study for prescription drugs, but Fish and Wildlife officials will seek more funding to continue testing and tracking what happening to in the water over time. 
  • An idea to help police patrol under area bridges is approved by the Tulsa City Council. The new ordinance gives police the authority to patrol under bridges that were previously considered state property. The plan is designed to help the City of Tulsa deal with damage under bridges. Leaders with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation say sometimes fires started by people living in homeless camps can do damage. ODOT has also paid for environmental agencies to clean out drug paraphernalia and human waste.
  • A Portland, Oregon, family contacted Amazon to investigate after they say a private conversation in their home was recorded by Amazon's Alexa – the voice-controlled smart speaker – and the recorded audio was sent to the phone of a random person in Seattle, who was in the family’s contact list. >> Amazon announces kids-friendly version of Echo 'My husband and I would joke and say, 'I'd bet these devices are listening to what we're saying,'' said Danielle, who did not want KIRO-TV to use her last name. Every room in her family home was wired with the Amazon devices to control her home's heat, lights and security system. But Danielle said that two weeks ago, the family's love for Alexa changed with an alarming phone call. 'The person on the other line said, 'Unplug your Alexa devices right now,'' she said. ''You're being hacked.'' >> Amazon working on home robot, report says That person was one of her husband's employees, calling from Seattle. 'We unplugged all of them and he proceeded to tell us that he had received audio files of recordings from inside our house,' she said. 'At first, my husband was, like, 'No, you didn't!' And the (recipient of the message) said, 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'Oh gosh, you really did hear us.'' Danielle listened to the conversation when it was sent back to her, and she couldn't believe someone 176 miles away heard it, too. 'I felt invaded,' she said. 'A total privacy invasion. Immediately, I said, 'I'm never plugging that device in again because I can't trust it.'' >> Amazon’s Alexa’s random laugh is creeping users out Danielle says she unplugged all the devices, and she repeatedly called Amazon. She says an Alexa engineer investigated. 'They said, 'Our engineers went through your logs, and they saw exactly what you told us; they saw exactly what you said happened, and we're sorry.' He apologized like 15 times in a matter of 30 minutes, and he said, 'We really appreciate you bringing this to our attention; this is something we need to fix!'' But Danielle says the engineer did not provide specifics about why it happened or if it's a widespread issue. 'He told us that the device just guessed what we were saying,' she said. Danielle said the device did not audibly advise her it was preparing to send the recording, something it’s programmed to do. >> Read more trending news  When KIRO-TV asked Amazon questions, the company sent this response: “Amazon takes privacy very seriously. We investigated what happened and determined this was an extremely rare occurrence. We are taking steps to avoid this from happening in the future.' Amazon offered to “de-provision” Danielle’s Alexa communications so she could keep using its 'Smart Home' features. But Danielle is hoping Amazon gives her a refund for her devices, which she said representatives have been unwilling to do. She says she’s curious to find out if anyone else has experienced the same issue. 'A husband and wife in the privacy of their home have conversations that they're not expecting to be sent to someone (in) their address book,' she said.
  • After days of increasingly bellicose statements from Pyongyang, President Donald Trump on Thursday pulled the plug on a scheduled June 12 summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, but left the door open to future negotiations over efforts to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. “If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting,” the President said at the White House. Mr. Trump’s remarks came several hours after he sent a letter to Kim Jong Un, calling off their summit, as U.S. officials laid the blame directly on the North Koreans. “While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead, potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and, indeed, a setback for the world,” the President said. I have decided to terminate the planned Summit in Singapore on June 12th. While many things can happen and a great opportunity lies ahead potentially, I believe that this is a tremendous setback for North Korea and indeed a setback for the world… pic.twitter.com/jT0GfxT0Lc — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 24, 2018 Both in his letter to Kim, and in his public remarks, the President edged back toward some of the tougher rhetoric that had characterized the Kim-Trump relationship of last year, when the two men lobbed threats of possible military action. “Hopefully, positive things will be taking place with respect to the future of North Korea. But if they don’t, we are more ready than we have ever been before,” Mr. Trump said. His letter was even more direct. “You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used,” Mr. Trump wrote, labeling the cancelled summit a ‘missed opportunity.’ On Capitol Hill, lawmakers asked the Secretary of State – who happened to be at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee – what would happen next, as Secretary Mike Pompeo said the U.S. would continue with the “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions against Pyongyang, and wait for the response of Kim Jong Un. Pompeo on what's next: 'It's Kim's choice. We welcome that call, that outreach.' Sounding somewhat dejected: 'In some ways, situation normal. The pressure campaign continues.' — Michelle Kosinski (@MichLKosinski) May 24, 2018 “I am hopeful that we can continue to have conversations so that we can put his back on track,” Pompeo said, though he admitted it was not clear why the North Koreans suddenly went from being willing partners to not answering phone calls. “I don’t really know I want to speculate why they took those actions, because I don’t think we know,” Pompeo added. “In some ways, it’s situation normal,” Pompeo said to one question. “The pressure campaign continues.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the US wants the complete denuclearization of North Korea https://t.co/ZvF0b8XHpG https://t.co/LNKUmWLNww — CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) May 24, 2018 Pompeo sparred with several Senate Democrats during the hearing, as he rejected assertions that the U.S. had rushed into a summit with Kim, and wasn’t really prepared to deal with a North Korean leader who is known for sudden course changes. “Unfortunately, it seems that our chief diplomat is negotiating war,” said Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) of Pompeo. “From the beginning, when Trump impulsively decided that he would meet with Kim Jong Un, it has been clear that the summit involved very little preparation,” said Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT). “We cannot return to the name-calling and saber-rattling of the last year,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA).