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Latest from Skyler Cooper

    Some of the best baseball players in the region are in Tulsa for the 2019 Texas League All-Star Game. Hosting the game is an honor the Drillers only get every six to eight years. The last time the All-Star game was held at ONEOK Field was in 2012. Drillers VP of Marketing Justin Gorski told KRMG they’re pulling out all the stops this time around. “The first 2,000 fans will get a commemorative duffel bag as well as a poster.” Gorski said. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. Fans can watch batting practice and get autographs from the players. There will also be a home run derby. The game begins at 7:05 p.m. Two F-16’s will perform a flyover before the game. It all ends with one of the biggest fireworks shows of the season, Gorski said. Get tickets here
  • Gathering Place has released a list of events for the rest of 2019. First up is an event they’re calling Caribbean Vibes, a food and music festival with an island theme. That’s happening June 22nd and 23rd. Next month is La Fiesta de Tulsa, an event to celebrate the Latin and Hispanic cultures in the Tulsa area. Events later in the year include a barbecue festival in August, a beer and wine festival in September and a food truck festival. Click here for more events happening at Gathering Place
  • A new space for local retailers is coming to Route 66. Nearly eight months after opening Mother Road Market, the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation announced Friday the addition of the Shops at Mother Road Market. The Shops will feature five retail spaces for local entrepreneurs, two for established businesses and three for new startups. Retail space will be built at the southwest corner of 11th and Lewis, just north of Mother Road Market. In addition to the retail space, the Shops will include 32 extra parking spaces, patio space and EV chargers for electric vehicles. A competition will be held to choose the tenants. They plan to announce the winners in November when Mother Road Market celebrates one year in businesses. Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation CEO and President Elizabeth Frame Ellison said the Shops at Mother Road Market should be open in early 2020.  More here
  • The City of Tulsa adopted a new ordinance in 2015, requiring dumpsters to be shielded from view. The city gave those with dumpsters, businesses being the group affected most, two years to comply by installing a wall or fence around their dumpsters. Click here to read the ordinance on Page 159 of the Tulsa Zoning Code The city could have enforced the rule in 2017, but waited until 2019 to do so. “It was time to start enforcing it.” Tulsa Mayor GT Bynum told KRMG after he says the city had been receiving complaints about dumpsters. Some are unhappy with the ordinance and the seemingly sudden enforcement. “Recently, a number of customers have contacted us stating they have been given official notice by the City of Tulsa that their business is in violation of this zoning code and have been given 10 days to comply or face stiff penalties, citations and fines if they do not build this structure required by the City.” Said Paul Ross, Vice President of American Waste Control, Inc. Ross calling enforcement of the ordinance in a statement “arbitrary and capricious when many city facilities are not in compliance themselves.” Mayor Bynum responded to that statement saying, “I can tell you that it is not arbitrary because I’m hearing about it from a lot of folks who have them.” Bynum said. “If we have ordinances in place, we enforce them.... We don’t have the luxury in the executive side of our government of deciding which ordinances we enforce and which we don’t.” American Waste Control’s Paul Ross is asking people affected by the ordinance to contact the mayor and city council. Ross plans to gather a group of business owners to attend city council meetings to voice their concerns.
  • A group of Tulsa fifth graders taking a field trip to Washington D.C. were suddenly stranded at the airport in early June when their American Airlines flight was canceled. The group, flying out of Oklahoma City’s Will Rogers World Airport, had been planning the trip for nearly a year, according to Fox News. Two gate agents from Delta Airlines witnessed what happened and made a call to the Delta corporate office in Atlanta. Delta arranged for a private plane to fly the students to their Richmond, Va. destination. A teacher tweeted her thanks to Delta. Delta replied, saying it was a pleasure to help the students get to their destination. Fox News received the following statement from Delta. “This heartwarming story is a testament to our culture and heart of Delta people that if you see an opportunity to do right thing, you take it every time,' Delta rep Drake Castañeda said. 'Seeing people for who they are, and not just customers of one carrier or another is what really made this story possible.
  • Tulsa police are searching for a man on their Most Wanted list. Quavious Ross is wanted out of Tulsa County for 1st Degree Burglary, Assault with a Deadly Weapon, and Threatening a Violent Act. Upon arrest, he will be held on $30,000. A reward of up to $1,500 is offered for a tip leading to his arrest. Call Crime Stoppers at 918-596-COPS, e-mail them at crimestoppers@cityoftulsa.org or submit a tip online here.
  • The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers increased the release from Keystone Dam Sunday afternoon. The release was increased to 75,000 cubic feet per second around noon and was bumped up again to 85,000 cubic feet per second about two hours later. As noted in a Facebook post, the gauge measuring the release is showing 6,000 cubic feet per second higher than the actual release. Rain over the weekend led to an increased inflow into Keystone Lake, likely leading to the bump in the release.
  • The Tulsa County Health Department has confirmed the first human case of West Nile Virus of the season in Tulsa County. The Oklahoma State Department of Health confirmed human cases in Grant and Canadian counties, bringing the total to three cases of West Nile Virus in the state for 2019. The Tulsa County Health Department urges people to take precautions against WNV as months with the highest risk for exposure to WNV are the months of July through October.  “While this case was not caused by the recent floodwaters, we do anticipate increased numbers of mosquitoes this season because of all the standing water that remains,” said Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “West Nile virus was confirmed in mosquitoes in Tulsa County in early May, and we expect to encounter more positive trap locations throughout the county this season. Everyone can take steps to reduce standing water and protect themselves against mosquito bites to help prevent the spread of mosquito-borne illnesses like West Nile virus.”  Anyone residing in an area where WNV is present is at risk for exposure; however, approximately 80% of individuals infected with the virus will have no symptoms. In early May, health department officials confirmed that a sampling of mosquitoes from Tulsa County tested positive for WNV. Of the 106 trap samples tested this season, 1 mosquito trap has been confirmed positive for WNV in Tulsa County to date.  Among the precautions to take against mosquito bites are the following: Dump and drain items such as buckets, cans, pool covers, flower pots, and tires from holding standing water so mosquitoes don’t have a place to breed. Use an insect repellent containing DEET or other CDC approved repellents on exposed skin and clothing when you go outdoors, particularly if you are outside between dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are more likely to bite. (Insect repellent with permethrin should be used on clothing only.) Repair or install window and door screens to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Encourage your friends and neighbors to dump and drain and to use repellents. Clean leaves and debris from rain gutters regularly to ensure they are not clogged. To let the health department know about mosquitoes in your area, call 918-582-9355 or click here. You can see an interactive map of West Nile Virus positive trap locations here
  • An employee at Toppers Pizza in Camarilla, California is being called a hero after catching a falling pizza pie in the kitchen. A video of the smooth save on the restaurant’s Facebook page has gone viral. Toppers Pizza captioned the video “Not all heroes where capes.” As of this writing, the video had been viewed about 5.6M times.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will be in Tulsa Tuesday to tour flood damage. Representative Kevin Hern will join Pence on the tour. “Although it’s under these sad circumstances, I look forward to welcoming the Vice President to Tulsa,” said Rep. Kevin Hern. “After the heart-wrenching weeks our state has suffered through, it’s good to know that President Trump and Vice President Pence have our backs and are here to help our community rebuild.” Check back for updates.
  • Skyler Cooper

    Born in Tulsa and raised in Owasso, Broken Arrow and Skiatook, Skyler Cooper is a life-long Green Country resident. 

    With both of his parents and a grandmother having all worked in the business, Skyler was hooked on radio from an early age.

    Skyler started his career at KRMG in 2012. He started as a board operator on Sunday mornings and was quickly moved into the producer role for the KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter.

    Skyler became a reporter in 2014 and now works as a reporter and producer for the  KRMG Morning News with Dan Potter.

    Read More
  • Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths. That emerging reality is prompting people in cities and rural areas alike to gird themselves for another summer of sooty skies along the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains — the regions widely expected to suffer most from blazes tied to dryer, warmer conditions. “There’s so little we can do. We have air purifiers and masks — otherwise we’re just like ‘Please don’t burn,’” said Sarah Rochelle Montoya of San Francisco, who fled her home with her husband and children last fall to escape thick smoke enveloping the city from a disastrous fire roughly 150 miles away. Other sources of air pollution are in decline in the U.S. as coal-fired power plants close and fewer older cars roll down highways. But those air quality gains are being erased in some areas by the ill effects of massive clouds of smoke that can spread hundreds and even thousands of miles on cross-country winds, according to researchers. With the 2019 fire season already heating up with fires from southern California to Canada, authorities are scrambling to better protect the public before smoke again blankets cities and towns. Officials in Seattle recently announced plans to retrofit five public buildings as smoke-free shelters.
  • First lady Melania Trump announced Tuesday that her director of communications, Stephanie Grisham, has been named as the new White House press secretary. >> Read more trending news  'I can think of no better person to serve the Administration & our country,' Trump said in a statement posted on Twitter. The first lady said Grisham will also serve as White House director of communications, a position that's been vacant since former Fox News executive Bill Shine left the role in March. Grisham will replace the current press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders. President Donald Trump announced two weeks ago that Sanders, plans to step down at the end of June. '(Grisham) will be an incredible asset to the President and the country,' Sanders said in a statement posted on Twitter. 'I’m sad to leave the WH, but so happy our team will be in such great hands. Stephanie will do a phenomenal job.' Axios reported President Trump wanted Grisham in the position and that he's said he likes and trusts her. The news site noted she's one of the few officials who has been with President Trump since his campaign. She will continue to serve as the first lady's spokeswoman as well, CNN reported. Grisham will become the fourth woman to serve as White House press secretary. Before serving as the first lady's spokeswoman, Grisham worked under Trump's first press secretary, Sean Spicer, The Washington Post reported. She also previously worked on Republican Mitt Romney's 2012 presidential campaign, according to the newspaper. “During the campaign, she developed a good relationship with the president, and that’s carried through,” Sanders said of Grisham in an interview late last year, according to the Post. “She has developed a great amount of trust from both the president and the first lady, which is a pretty high commodity here. There aren’t a lot of people who have a lot of regular interaction with both of them.”
  • The Forsyth County, Georgia sheriff's office has released body camera footage of the moments deputies rescued an abandoned newborn found in a plastic shopping bag. >> Read more trending news  Neighbors heard a baby crying and discovered 'Baby India' tied up in the bag earlier this month, WSB-TV reported.  The new video shows deputies tearing open the bag to find the newborn with her umbilical cord still attached. The video shows officers frantically wrapping the crying baby in a jacket. She has since been taken into the custody of the Division of Family and Children services' care and is in good health.  Deputies hope releasing the body camera footage will generate more leads and help find the infant's mother. WARNING: Graphic video below. Police are asking anyone with information to call the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office at 770-888-7308. Callers can remain anonymous. 
  • A sleeping passenger on an Air Canada flight said she woke up “all alone” in a “cold, dark” plane after arriving in Toronto earlier this month after a weekend trip to Quebec. >> Read more trending news  Passenger Tiffani Adams recounted what she called a “nightmare” in a social media post shared by a friend June 19. “I wake up around midnight (few hours after flight landed) freezing cold still strapped in my seat in complete darkness (I’m talking pitch black). As someone with an anxiety disorder as is, I can tell you how terrifying this was. I think I’m having a bad dream [because], like seriously, how is this happening!!? Adams said in the Facebook post. She first tried to call a friend, but her cellphone battery died and there was no power in the plane, so she couldn’t recharge it. She said she was “full on panicking” by the time she reached the cockpit looking for a means of calling attention to her plight, but nothing worked in the cockpit. >> Trending: Mysterious feline species called a cat-fox discovered prowling around French island She said she found a flashlight in the cockpit and tried shining the light out the windows but nobody came to her assistance. Finally, Adams managed to get a cabin door unbolted and was considering the steep drop to the tarmac below when she spotted a ground crew worker, who helped get her out of the jet. After realizing the mistake, Air Canada employees offered her a limo ride and a free hotel stay, but Adams said she refused the offer because she just wanted to get home. Now she’s having a tough time sleeping after the scary ordeal. “I haven’t got much sleep since the reoccurring night terrors and waking up anxious and afraid I’m alone locked up someplace dark,” she said. The airline said it is investigating how the flight crew missed Adams when they deplaned. >> Trending: Enormous, furry head of 40,000 year old Ice Age wolf found in melting Siberian permafrost  The airline confirmed the incident took place, according to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, but refused to comment on disembarking procedures or how Adams could have been left on the plane.
  • A consumer watchdog group says high levels of arsenic were found in bottled water sold at three major retailers. The website Investorplace.com reports testing done by the non-profit Center for Environmental Health found arsenic in the Starkey brand sold at Whole Foods and the Peñafel brand sold at Target and Walmart. The exact levels were not disclosed because the group is in the process of suing Whole Foods and Keurig Dr. Pepper, which makes Peñafel. But they say it's above the level requiring a health warning under California’s consumer protection law. You can read more about the story here.

Washington Insider

  • On the eve of the first major gathering of Democratic Party candidates in the 2020 race for President, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) drew over a thousand interested Democrats to a town hall gathering at Florida International University on Monday, pressing the case for the federal government to do more to help working Americans find economic security in the future. 'I don't want a government that works for big corporations, I want one that works for families,' Warren said to applause, making the case for a higher minimum wage for workers, major ethics reforms for government officials, voting reforms, major tax changes, and more. 'Let's start with a wealth tax in America,' said Sanders, as she called for 'big structural change in this country,' rattling off a number of her policy ideas, getting big cheers for new limits on lobbying, action on climate change, and better wages for all workers. “A full time minimum wage job in America will not get a momma and a baby out of poverty,” Warren said.  “That is wrong, and that is why I am in this fight.” Of the ten Democrats on the debate stage Wednesday night, Warren is by far the strongest candidate in the first group, as she has been gaining momentum in recent weeks in a variety of polls. The four other top Democrats in the race will be on stage together on Thursday - Biden, Buttigieg, Harris and Sanders. Along with Warren, two other Democrats attracted press attention in south Florida before the Wednesday debate, as Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State talked about his signature issue of climate change, and ex-Rep. Beto O'Rourke of Texas rallied with teachers in Miami. 'It's a great opportunity for me to listen to you, to have the chance to introduce myself,' said O'Rourke, who is one of the better known names on the first night of the Democratic debate. The first debate night in Miami features three Democratic Senators (Booker, Klobuchar, Warren), two House members (Gabbard, Ryan), two former House members (Delaney, O'Rourke), one current mayor (DeBlasio), one former mayor and Cabinet member (Castro), and one Governor (Inslee). While some like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) arrived in Florida on Tuesday afternoon - getting unsolicited advice along the way from fellow passengers on her flight to Miami - Inslee was for a second day hammering away at his main issue of climate change. 'Today we're announcing a new freedom in America, and that's freedom from fossil fuels,' Inslee said at an event in the Everglades. Inslee followed up his Everglades visit with a Tuesday evening event where he took shots at Big Oil. For most of the Democrats over the next two nights, there is a simple game plan.  'Our goal,' a memo to reporters from Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said, 'Introduce Cory to Democrats tuning in for the first time,' noting that when you do the math, each candidate is only going to get between seven and eleven minutes of total speaking time. 'I can’t wait to share with you my vision for a more just and fair nation,' Booker said. Meanwhile, Warren was making plans for an impromptu visit on Wednesday to a facility south of Miami, where immigrant children detained by border authorities are being held. “I'm going to Homestead,” Warren said to cheers after being urged to focus on the issue by an activist at a town hall meeting in Miami. “If you can come, come and join us,” Warren urged the crowd, as her campaign set a 10:45 am visit on Wednesday, which seems all but certain to draw extra news media attention, just hours before the first night of the Democratic debates. While Warren was on the move, her colleague Sen. Booker was doing more mundane things at the same time back in Washington, D.C. - helping people put their suitcases in the overhead bin on his flight to Miami.
  • Pressing ahead with work on government funding bills for 2020, Democrats in the House approved a package of five measures worth $383.3 billion on Tuesday, funding an array of programs from the Justice Department to NASA, military construction projects and the VA, while also including a series of policy riders designed to rein in efforts by the Trump Administration to expand offshore oil and gas exploration. 'Offshore drilling anywhere near Florida represents an existential threat to our economy that we cannot risk taking,' said Rep. Francis Rooney (R-FL), as all but one Republican from the Sunshine State supported an amendment to block new oil and gas leasing off Florida, especially in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. 'I saw the tar balls wash up on Florida beaches,' said Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL), and he invoked the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when he was Governor of Florida in 2010. 'I hope to never see that again.' But it wasn't only Florida lawmakers of both parties making the case against expanded drilling, as the bill also added amendments to block seismic blasting to check for oil and gas deposits in offshore waters along the entire Atlantic coast, along with a full moratorium on new oil and gas exploration on the Eastern seaboard, plus a plan to block any new oil and gas leasing off the Pacific Coast of the United States. 'The Central Coast has endured the devastating impacts of oil spills,' said California Democrat Salud Carbajal. 'I'll do everything in my power to make sure our community doesn't go through that again.' Supporters of expanded offshore oil and gas exploration accused opponents of using 'fear tactics.' 'I believe the ones who don’t want to see the areas mentioned in this amendment opened up for offshore leasing really just don’t want fossil fuel development,' said Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC). But Duncan's home state colleague - from the Atlantic coast - had a much different view. 'Far too much is at stake in our State,' said Rep. Joe Cunningham (D-SC), who argued for plans to squelch new offshore exploration. 'South Carolina’s tourism economy is worth $22.6 billion a year, and two-thirds of that comes from the coast.' 'This is an issue that has been supported by Republican Governor (Henry) McMaster, who has made it clear that he opposes offshore drilling,' Cunningham added. The approval of the underlying 'minibus' funding package means that nine of the twelve yearly funding bills have made it through the House of Representatives; one more could be voted on this week before lawmakers leave for a scheduled break. Those spending bills are supposed to be done by October 1 - but the House only has 25 scheduled work days between the July Fourth break and the end of the fiscal year. The Senate has one more week of work scheduled than the House - but there is little reason to think that Congress will finish its on time - by September 30 - for the first time since 1996. 'The current funding process is designed to fail. It doesn’t work. It hasn’t worked. It will never work,' said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), who has been pressing for a full overhaul of the budget process.  'Since the Budget Act of 1974 was put in place, Congress has only funded the federal government on time four times, and the last time was 23 years ago,' Perdue added. The three funding bills not yet voted on by the House include the spending measure for Congress and the Legislative Branch, a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security, and a measure funding federal financial agencies. The Senate has yet to bring any of the 2020 funding bills to the floor for action.
  • In a flurry of motions by prosecutors and lawyers for indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), government attorneys submitted to a federal judge a number of examples of how Hunter allegedly used money contributed to his campaign to instead pay for romantic outings with a series of women who were not his wife. 'Shortly after he arrived in Washington, Hunter began to use funds contributed to the Duncan D. Hunter for Congress Campaign to carry out a series of intimate relationships,' a new document filed on Monday detailed for a federal judge. 'At trial, the evidence will demonstrate that Hunter improperly used campaign funds to pursue these romances wholly unrelated to either his congressional campaigns or his official duties as a member of Congress,' prosecutors said in a 'statement of facts.' Stating there was a 'voluminous nature' of evidence against Hunter, the document set out an image of a Congressman who had affairs with lobbyists and Congressional staffers, paying for their meals, trips, and nights on the town with campaign funds. 'In March 2010, for example, the couple took a weekend “double date” road trip to Virginia Beach with their friends, one of whom was also a congressman. Hunter spent $905 in campaign funds to pay for the hotel bar tab and room he shared with (Individual-14) that weekend,' the documents related. The documents listed evidence about Hunter's relationships with: + Individual 14 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 15 - a staffer who worked in the office of a member of the House leadership,  + Individual 16 - a staffer in his Congressional office,  + Individual 17 - a lobbyist,  + Individual 18 - a lobbyist. The court submission sometimes left little to the imagination, as it noted Hunter engaging in 'intimate personal activities' with these individuals, which was not related to his campaign or duties as a lawmaker. The release of the information by prosecutors came as lawyers for Rep. Hunter asked the judge in the case to exclude a number of pieces of evidence, as Hunter has alleged he is the victim of a political persecution. 'The investigation of Congressman Hunter by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California began shortly after his public endorsement of candidate Trump,' Hunter's lawyers wrote in one of a series of evidence challenges, alleging that two prosecutors involved in the case were supporters of Hillary Clinton. 'Any explanation the Government gives now for initiating the investigation of Congressman Hunter should be viewed with total skepticism through the lens of their attempts to cover up the partisan political activities of the prosecutors that initiated the investigation,' lawyers for Hunter added.
  • Flanked by several progressive Democrats from the U.S. House, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) unveiled plans on Monday to zero out well over $1 trillion in college student loan debt held by Americans, part of a broader call by some lawmakers to make tuition much more affordable for students at public colleges and universities. 'If you can bail out Wall Street, you can bail out the middle class of this country,' Sanders said at a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol. 'We have a generation of people who are drowning in debt,' said Sanders, as he urged older Americans to realize that times have dramatically changed since they were able to use Pell Grants or a part time job to help pay their college tuition. 'It was literally easier for me to become the youngest woman in American history elected to Congress than it is to pay off my student loan debt,' said Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). There were different pieces of legislation released today on the issue - one from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) is titled the 'Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019' - and focuses just on the issue of erasing student debt. Omar's bill would also prevent the loan forgiveness from being considered taxable income for an individual, and does not allow any refunds of payments already made. 'Corporations and the wealthiest Americans have repeatedly gotten tax breaks and bailouts,' said Omar. 'It’s time for a bailout for the 45 million Americans who are shackled with student debt.' The immediate reaction among Republicans and conservatives was skeptical - to say the least. 'Universities will be able to increase tuition at will if they know the gov’t is just going to forgive the debt anyway,' tweeted Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH). The plan from Sanders and others would apply to all with student loan debt - no matter their current income levels. His bill would also aim to drastically reduce the cost of tuition at public colleges and universities - with a total cost estimate of $2.2 trillion. 'The estimated $2.2 trillion cost of the bill would be paid for by a tax on Wall Street speculation,' Sanders said in a release about the legislation. The plan would institute a transaction tax of 0.5 percent on stock trades, as well as a 0.1 percent fee on bonds, and a .0005 percent fee on derivatives.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Monday that a government ban on the registration of what federal officials believe are 'immoral or scandalous' trademarks violates the First Amendment, saying it was not right that free speech would protect 'good morals,' but not trademarks which 'denigrate those concepts.' 'The registration of such marks serves only to further coarsen our popular culture,' Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the Court. 'But we are not legislators and cannot substitute a new statute for the one now in force.' The case involved artist and entrepreneur Erik Brunetti, who wanted a trademark for his clothing like 'FUCT' - which he says is pronounced not as a word, but with the individual letters, F-U-C-T.  'But you might read it differently and, if so, you would hardly be alone,' Kagan wrote for the Court, as patent and trademark officials refused to approve Brunetti's request, labeling it a 'total vulgar.' This ruling overturned those decisions. While agreeing with the basics of the decision, Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in a concurring opinion that while the decision protects free speech, the results might offend many people. 'The Court’s decision today will beget unfortunate results,' Sotomayor wrote in a concurrence with Justice Stephen Breyer. “Everyone can think of a small number of words (including the apparent homonym of Brunetti’s mark) that would, however, plainly qualify,” Sotomayor added. The decision could have implications past trademarks, as states routinely reject vanity license plate applications because of certain words which would be used. You can read the full ruling here.