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Russell Mills

Russell Mills came to Tulsa in 1991 with an AA degree in Broadcast Journalism and a new family. He worked in local television for more than 20 years as a show producer, assignment editor, and online content director. He built one of the first television news websites in the country and helped pioneer streaming audio and video, especially as it related to weather and live news coverage on the Internet. Russell says working for KRMG fulfills a longtime dream. "I worked in newsrooms for a long, long time before finally getting the chance to get out and cover the news in person. I can't tell you how much I love doing just that -- driving toward the big story to talk to the people involved gets my adrenaline going like almost nothing else in life." Russell grew up in Bozeman, Montana then spent several years as an "itinerant musician and restaurant worker," living in Wyoming, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and California before finally starting college at 28 and discovering broadcasting as a possible career path. He is married to Shadia Dahlal, a nationally-known Middle Eastern Dancer and instructor, and has two stepchildren who both live and work in Tulsa. You can connect with Russell via Twitter, Facebook, or Linked In. After nearly a quarter century as a web developer, Russell began blogging in 2014. You can see his "Behind the Scenes" blog on reporting in Tulsa here.

Latest from Russell Mills

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Poll: 3 of 4 Americans don't see Trump as a serious candidate

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Donald Trump may be doing well in some early Republican presidential polls, but according to new research he has a lot of work to do to convince more Americans his bid for the GOP nomination is realistic.

A Gallup poll released Tuesday indicates that 74 percent of Americans don't think he's a "serious" candidate.

Interestingly, a poll by Gallup in 1999, when Trump ran on the Reform Party ticket, found an identical 74 percent of Americans didn't take his campaign seriously.

But there has been a shift in the demographics.

In 1999, only 20 percent of Republicans responded that they considered the real estate mogul a serious candidate, while in the new poll 43 percent said they did.

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But among Democrats there was a significant drop, from 20 percent in 1999 to 12 percent now.

Gallup's polling shows 27 percent of independent voters saw his camdidacy as serious in 1999, compared to 25 percent currently.

Gallup's conclusion:

Donald Trump's candidacy has already shaped the presidential race in important ways, such as compelling other Republican candidates to address the issue of illegal immigration more forcefully. Yet even as Trump appears to be a prominent voice in the Republican race, nearly three-quarters of Americans do not take his candidacy for president seriously. The public sees his candidacy as no more credible now than in 1999, despite his decision to run for a major-party nomination this time around and his promise to spend his ample personal wealth in pursuit of his political ambitions.

You can see more details on the poll and its results on the Gallup.com website.

Restaurant apologizes after refusing to serve officer with gun

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A Tulsa, Oklahoma, restaurant is apologizing after a reserve officer said he was refused service there.

According to KOKI-TV, Brian Radford of the Mounds Police Department shared his story on Facebook, saying Redrock Canyon Grill staffers told him he could not be served while he had his service weapon.

Radford was wearing a Mounds polo shirt and his police belt at the time. His gun was on his belt. The polo shirt is the uniform of the Mounds Police Department.

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Redrock Canyon Grill said the server was a manager in training who was not aware that the restaurant's no-weapons policy does allow officers to carry their weapon while in uniform. The manager said the restaurant's owner apologized after they realized Radford was an officer.

Mounds police released a statement saying the restaurant's corporate office offered the department and reserve officer their apologies for the incident. The department called the incident a misunderstanding.

"Turns out in contacting corporate offices for the Redrock Canyon Grill, they have a specific policy that says police officers are encouraged to be there, and more than welcome to be there, and they can be there armed," Mounds Assistant Police Chief Craig Murray told KRMG.

Representatives from the restaurant said they will continue to follow that policy, welcoming and appreciating all police officers.

– KRMG reporter Russell Mills contributed to this report.

Is using public Wi-Fi a security risk?

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Here’s a question: Is using public Wi-Fi a security risk?

Using a public source of wireless Internet can compromise your security under certain circumstances.

The fact the network is open means someone with the right skills could compromise your security by snooping or planting malicious content on other machines attached to the same hub. (Video via FTC)

That said, it will always be better for you if the location’s Wi-Fi has beefed up security. A good indicator for that is if you need a password to get access.

But having a password doesn’t guarantee anything — which is why we have some tips that can help keep your information safe during your public Wi-Fi escapades.

Before you ever have to log in to a public hotspot, make sure your device’s software is up to date and use any extra layers of security your online accounts might offer. This would be something like two-factor authentication or security questions. (Video via Google)

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Having a virtual private network, or VPN, on your devices is also a good idea if you know you’re going to be using public Wi-Fi at any point in the future. But if you didn’t have the opportunity to plan that far ahead, go into your settings and try turning off file sharing. That can save you from unwanted connections. (Video via Spotflux)

When you’re looking for the right network to connect to, make sure you’re connecting to legitimate ones. So, not the one that says “free Wi-Fi” and doesn’t require a password. 

After you’re on a safe public Wi-Fi source, pay attention to sites’ URLS. If you see “https” or a lock icon, that means the site you’re visiting is more secure thanks to an encrypted line of communication between your browser and the website.

Also, be smart about the sites you browse while connected to public networks. For example, it’s probably not wise to do any personal banking or enter credit card numbers on those connections.

When you’re done browsing, log out of the sites you signed in to. And forget the network, so the next time you’re in the area, your devices won’t automatically connect without your knowledge.

This video contains images by Charleston’s TheDigitel / CC BY 2.0Ken Hawkins / CC BY 2.0Yahoo / CC BY 2.0 and Erin Pettigrew / CC BY 2.0.

Mom mad at high school for throwing out her son's lunch

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A woman says her son shouldn't have to go hungry just because he forgot lunch money, but Tulsa Public Schools says by that age, he needs to be more responsible.

The mom, who wished to remain anonymous, told KRMG that her son was told he couldn't eat because he owed $3.

She says they took his tray and threw the food away, and she feels like the situation could have been handled differently.

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"Let me know that he owes money, send a note home or something, but I don't think a child should be told no, they can't eat," she told KRMG. "I don't think that if he forgets his money one day, it should just be 'no, you can't eat.'"

Chris Payne, spokesman for Tulsa Public Schools, said the district policy is that no high school student should be allowed to charge meals.

He says it's about teaching students responsibility.

"In the real world if you don't have your money and you go to McDonald's, they're not going to serve you," Payne said.

Students at the elementary and middle school levels are allowed to charge up to around $6 or $7, depending on the individual school.

And, he says, some high school principals allow a little latitude, but the district policy is clear.

"We, at the high school level, do not allow charges for lunches."

Some districts around the country have programs where students can earn their lunches by working in the cafeteria.

But Oklahoma's stringent food handling laws remove that option from the table, Payne says.

Plus, he said, "we really do want their emphasis to be on learning."

Deputy volunteers to donate kidney to stranger

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Paul Tucker has been a deputy with the Rogers County Sheriff's Office in Claremore, Oklahoma for three years.

He understands that sometimes, a peace officer puts his life on the line for others, but in Tucker's case, he's going above and beyond the call of duty by literally giving a piece of himself to save a man he'd never met until recently.

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It began with a Facebook post by a friend of his asking for help for a man who needed a kidney but has a rare blood type.

Tucker told KRMG he wanted to help, so he messaged his friend, then filled out an application with Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville to become a donor.

It didn't take long for them to call him back.

"She said, 'Okay, we're going to send some lab work over, and you can do it right there in Claremore,'" Tucker told KRMG.

When the results came back, they were better than anyone involved could have hoped.

"She said, 'You guys are a six-for-six match,'" Tucker said. "I didn't find this out until later on, but the match that we are is one in a million."

Little did he know, that was just the beginning.

"They did all kinds of things: EKG, chest x-ray. I had to meet with a social worker and a psychologist," Tucker said.

All this for a man he didn't even know.

"When we landed in Nashville, he picked us up at the airport. That was the first time we ever met," said Tucker.

A non-profit called Living Donors Assistance Program is helping Tucker with the travel expenses.

As far as his job, Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton has been nothing but supportive.

"His words to me were, 'We're one hundred percent behind you,'" Tucker said, adding that several of his fellow employees have offered to donate time off to him if he needs it so he won't lose any pay.

The recovery from the operation will take weeks, with weeks more of light duty after that before he can return to patrol.

As for the why, Tucker said it's pretty simple.

The man who needs the kidney has a wife and two children.

"Me being a father myself, I would hope and pray that if I was in that situation, someone would do the same for me."

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