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AAA offers Tipsy Tow ride service for New Year’s Eve

This holiday season, AAA reminds motorists to travel safely and drive drug- and alcohol-free when hitting the roads. For those who do plan to drink, AAA urges them to take safety precautions in advance: designate a non-drinking driver, call a cab or stay with a friend.

If you need a safe ride home, call 1-800-AAA-HELP.

Program runs from now until 4 a.m. January 2.

Recycling Christmas refuse and trees in the Tulsa metro

For the sixth year, Tulsa-based American Waste Control is holding its annual “unboxing Christmas” campaign to encourage recycling, and this year the proceeds will benefit a local charity.

Paul Ross with AWC tells KRMG a portion of all the recycling proceeds will go to “Loaves and Fishes,” a longstanding non-profit in east Tulsa.

While many cities in the metro offer curbside recycling, not all households take advantage of the service.

But AWC has a program called “Mr. Murph,” with dozens of recycling bins spread throughout the area.

For an interactive map of Mr. Murph recycling locations, click here.

The main location is at 1150 N. Peoria, and for those wishing to rid themselves of Christmas trees (without having to chop them into four-foot sections), there’s a dumpster there where they can be dropped off for free.

Tulsa residents can cut their trees into four-foot sections and leave them by the curbside.

In either case, all tinsel and other decorations should be removed from the tree.

As for recycling all those boxes and bags, there are some exceptions which should not go into the bins:

  • Shiny or metallic wrapping paper (including foil and paper embedded with glitter)
  • Tinsel
  • Lights or cords
  • Ribbons and bows, gift bags (they recommend these be reused)
  • Bubble wrap

Dog groomer accused of abuse caught on video shaking small dog, other incidents revealed

A Florida dog groomer is in hot water after a video surfaced that appears to show the owner violently shaking a dog.

>> Read more trending news

The video was posted on Nov. 10 by Facebook user Briana Brady who says that she used to work at the Happy Puppy Pet Spa near Sarasota, Florida. According to Brady, the woman in the video owns the spa and Brady said that the behavior captured in the clip is common. The clip has been shared over 1,800 times and racked up more than 384,000 views since it was posted.

Brady identified the woman as Phyllis Lucca and writes “this is what this horrible woman does every day to every dog. She even broke a dog’s jaw two weeks ago. She picked the dog up by the neck and shook it and slammed it on the table.”

Customers have complained about Lucca’s care for their dogs — former client Cynthia Crowe told the groomer, “I gave you a dog in good health and you give me a dog that has broken bones now.” She said that when she picked her toy poodle up from the Happy Puppy Pet Spa, the animal had blood on his mouth and bruises on his stomach. Crowe rushed her pet to veterinarian Gary Berkowitz, who told WFTX “The dog was doing fine, eating and drinking fine like normal, as soon as she gets home from the groomer, the dog shows all these signs and has a fractured jaw.”

>> Related: Florida dairy farm investigating graphic animal abuse seen in new undercover footage

Warning: The videos in this story contain footage some may find disturbing.

Crowe filed a police report against Lucca for animal cruelty, and the investigating detective wrote that the groomer admitted to the dog’s injuries. But when WFTX caught up with Lucca, she blamed her former employee Briana Brady, saying that she was the only one ever in the room alone with Crowe’s pet and, added, “If you see that video, I know it looks bad, but that’s not what I’m doing.”

“What the dog did was pass out and she faints, and what I did was hold her head and shake her. That’s all,” Lucca said.

Brady said she’s witnessed a disturbing pattern of abuse from Lucca, telling WFLA, “I’ve seen her choke out and slam a dog in the bathtub.”

>> Related: Dog mauled, killed by pit bull at PetSmart during grooming appointment

 Dog mauled, killed by pit bull at PetSmart during grooming appointment

“I’ve been crying nonstop. It just breaks my heart to see someone mistreat an animal like that,” she said.

Brady has hired an attorney and plans to file a civil suit against the groomer, but that suit has not yet been filed.

Since the video came out, the Google rating for Lucca’s spa has dropped to a dismal 1.8 stars. But even before Brady’s Facebook post, customers wrote reviews indicating abuse, one woman claimed that when she picked up her dog, she “noticed at least 3 very red areas where the clippers must have gotten too close.” Six years ago, one customer wrote that she was “horrified to walk in there and see a dog sitting in a pool of blood and whimpering from having its nails cut incorrectly.”

Top Florida state senator resigns in wake of affair

A Florida state senator, in line to become the Democratic leader in the Florida Senate next year, abruptly resigned Friday.

>> Read more trending news

State Sen. Jeff Clemens of Atlantis, made the announcement after Politico reported he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.

“I have made mistakes I (am) ashamed of, and for the past six months I have been focused on becoming a better person. But it is clear to me that task is impossible to finish while in elected office. The process won’t allow it, and the people of Florida deserve better. All women deserve respect, and by my actions, I feel I have failed that standard. I have to do better,” Clemens said in a statement.

He emailed a shorter statement to Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, saying “Please consider this email as my resignation from the Florida Senate.”

Clemens said his resignation was effective immediately. Under state law, Gov. Rick Scott must set the date for a special election to fill Clemens’ seat.

“It is clear to me Senator Clemens made a decision he feels is best for both his family and his constituents,” Negron said.

In his public statement, Clemens said, “Though they have been aware for some time now, I apologize again to my wife, my family and anyone and everyone that I have treated poorly in the past for putting you through this in such a public way. I will continue the therapy I began months ago, will seek to personally apologize to anyone I have wronged while seeking forgiveness, and will spend my time being a better husband and father.”

The resignation came less than 24 hours after Clemens sent an email apologizing to Senate Democrats on Thursday night as Politico was preparing to report that Clemens had an affair with lobbyist Devon West. West worked for the Martin County government and now works for Broward County’s lobbying office. Efforts to reach her on Friday were unsuccessful.

“I take full responsibility for my behavior, and I apologize for bringing any embarrassment to the Caucus,” Clemens said in the Thursday night email to his colleagues. “I have spent much of the past six months going to therapy, strengthening my relationship with my wife and my kids, and trying to be a better human being. I still have quite a ways to go. But I am unwavering in my resolve to get there.”

Rep. Betty Price says comments about quarantining HIV patients 'taken out of context'

A Georgia lawmaker now says she does not support quarantining HIV patients after she seemed to ask if it was legal to do so during a House study committee meeting last week.

>> Read more trending news

“I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge and dilemma of undertreated HIV patients,” Georgia state Rep. Betty Price (R-Roswell) wrote in a statement.

Price, the wife of former Health and Human Services Secretary and Georgia Congressman Tom Price, was at a meeting of a House study committee last week when she asked a state health official about HIV patients.“What are we legally able to do?” Price asked during the meeting. “I don’t want to say the quarantine word, but I guess I just said it. Is there an ability since, I would guess that public dollars are expended heavily in prophylaxes and treatment of this condition. So we have a public interest in curtailing the spread. What would you advise? Or are there any methods, you know, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”

>> Previous story: Georgia Rep. Betty Price suggests ‘quarantine’ for HIV patients

Price said in the statement that her comments were “provocative and rhetorical” and “part of a free-flowing conversation which has been taken completely out of context.”

“I do not support a quarantine in this public health challenge,” she said.

Metro Atlanta’s LGBTQ community was quick to condemn the original statements.“The comments from Rep. Price were incredibly disturbing,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of LGBT organization Georgia Equality. “In this day and age, to be even mentioning quarantine around people living with HIV, there just really is no excuse for it. I was heartened to see that she made some recognition of this with the statement that she made over the weekend. I think that is a good start, but clearly, we need to go further than that.”

4 Michigan city council members take knee during Pledge of Allegiance

Four members of the 11-member city council in Ann Arbor, Michigan, took a knee during the Pledge of Allegiance before Monday night’s meeting, MLive reported.

>> Read more trending news

Sumi Kailasapathy, a third-term council member, took a page out of NFL players’ playbooks and decided to make a statement protesting social injustice.

Kailasapathy asked several City Council members to join her in the protest and Chip Smith, Jason Frenzel and Chuck Warpehoski agreed. MLive reported."People tell me to go back to my country and I don't know how to tell them that this is my country, this is my home, and I work very hard to take care of and support my community. If I leave, where am I going to go? " Kailasapathy told CNN.

In a blog post, Warpehoski wrote, "I can't speak to what is in each person's heart, but for me to 'take a knee' is an act of attention, of concern, and of respect," MLive reported. He also said he didn't mean to offend anyone by his actions, let alone dishonor those who have sacrificed for this country.Kailasapathy said she believes kneeling is not disrespectful."If you are someone who works hard to make your community and country a better place, you have the right to be treated with respect," she said.Kailasapathy said she does not plan on kneeling again at a meeting anytime soon, saying she just wanted to get her point across.

Since being elected to the City Council in 2012, normally stands silent during the Pledge of Allegiance , often with her head down, MLive reported. She does not recite the Pledge of Allegiance and said in March that she had no plans to do so in the future, stressing that no disrespect was intended.

Free shuttles offer convenient rides to Tulsa Oktoberfest

The 2017 Linde Oktoberfest kicks off Thursday at River West Festival Park, and runs through Sunday, and as always there will be plenty of beer, food, and oompah music.

Getting to and from the festival can be a bit challenging, because traffic gets heavy and parking is somewhat limited.

The solution is to use the free shuttle system, which offers pick up and drop off service in several areas.

Tonja Carrigg with RiverParks Authority tells KRMG they shuttled nearly 15,000 people last year.

“They’re running continuously throughout the festival starting one hour before we open, and continuing one hour after close time, even on Friday and Saturday when we stay open until one a.m.,” Carrigg said.

According to the Tulsa Oktoberfest website, “The Downtown Loop includes the Blue Dome District, The Tulsa Doubletree Hotel, Hyatt Regency Downtown and the Holiday Inn Tulsa City Center. Shuttles will also service parking areas at the Trade Winds Central Inn, and the Crowne Plaza Southern Hills... The Downtown shuttles run every 5-10 minutes; the south shuttles run every 20-30 minutes.”

Parking near the festival can fill up, and costs between $10 and $20.

Also, Jackson Avenue will be closed at 21st Street by police, so accessing the festival is best done either by the shuttles, or by taking Southwest Boulevard to 17th Street and turning east.

For more information on parking, festival times, and to purchase admission tickets, food and drink coupons, ride passes and more online, head over to the Linde Oktoberfest website.

Relatively shocking: Bernie Sanders, Larry David are distant cousins

For Bernie Sanders and Larry David, it’s all relative.

Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont, and David, the man who lampooned him on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2016 election campaign, found out they were distant cousins.

>> Read more trending news

The PBS show “Finding Your Roots” released a clip of its Season 4 premiere on Tuesday, capturing the moment when both Sanders and David discovered they were related, Mediaite reported.

“What the hell?!” yelled David, the co-creator of “Seinfeld” and the creator-star of “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” 

“You’re kidding!” an equally surprised Sanders said. “This true?”

It was. On the show, which premieres Friday on PBS, series host Henry Louis Gates Jr. told both men that their DNA tests revealed they both had more than 97 percent Ashkenazi Jewish ancestry, Variety reported.

Gates and his researchers were able to determine that the family of David’s mother came from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, with his grandparents having been born in the city of Tarnopol, Poland. In addition to information about David’s grandparents, Gates and his team also uncovered that David’s mother was also born in Poland, Variety reported.

Sanders learned that his family also had roots in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, in a region known as Galicia, Variety reported. After World War I, Sanders’ relatives lived in what became part of what is now Poland. Most of the relatives of Sanders’ father remained in Europe and were killed by the Nazis during World War II, Variety reported. Sanders’ uncle was put to death for refusing to hand over a group of Jewish resistors.

Although it was supposed to be kept secret until the season premiere, David leaked the news that he was distantly related to Sanders over the summer, Mediaite reported. 

Water, sewer rates to increase in Broken Arrow

As part of a multi-year, utility infrastructure reinvestment plan approved by the City Council last year, the City of Broken Arrow will implement a second rate increase for water, sewer and stormwater services. A similar rate increase was approved in December 2016.

 Beginning with bills received in November 2017, a typical residential customer in the city limits that uses 7,000 gallons of water per month will see their water bill increase about $1.68 and their sewer bill increase about $1.05. The stormwater fee will increase by $0.52. The street light fee increases $1.00 to $1.50. These changes will make the bill for a typical household using 7,000 gallons increase about $3.75 per month.

 “The City Council and City staff are very conscious of any increase in the cost of service and are committed to maintaining the most cost-effective and reliable utility services available in the metro area,” said City Manager Michael Spurgeon.

 The rate increases are necessary to continue providing utility services in Broken Arrow and pay both operational costs and debt service payments on $90 million worth of capital projects for the utility infrastructure. The increased street light fee will also fund two new street signal technician positions to help maintain the City’s traffic lights.

 The City of Broken Arrow operates 83 signalized intersections, 18 signalized school zones and 55 civil defense and outdoor storm warning sirens. In addition, Broken Arrow has approximately 5,000 streetlights, 1,750 of which are City owned.

 Last year, the City hired the engineering consultant firm of Black and Veatch, which specializes in helping municipalities analyze costs for services delivered and establish appropriate utility rates. Black and Veatch, working with staff, determined what Broken Arrow’s water, sewer and stormwater fees should be in order to pay for the necessary utility systems improvements, operational expenses, and additional staffing needs to maintain the systems.

 “These utility rate increases are required so that the City can continue to improve our water, sewer and stormwater systems to handle the explosive growth Broken Arrow has experienced over the past 30 years,” Spurgeon said. “Major capital investments are needed to make our utility systems reliable and efficient, and to ensure we can accommodate future growth anticipated in the next 10-15 years. We’ve made tremendous progress so far, such as beginning improvements at our Lynn Lane Wastewater Treatment Plant. These types of improvements are vital if we are to continue to provide high quality utility services to both current and future customers and position ourselves to accommodate continued economic growth in Broken Arrow.”

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