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News Brief: Week of Feb. 19-24


By the end of 2020, 168 Confederate symbols had been removed across the nation, according to a report issued on Tuesday, Feb. 23 by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Virginia removed the most, 71 symbols in total. These symbols comprise monuments, statues, markers, buildings, military properties and names of schools, cities, streets or highways. The death of George Floyd in May 2020 sparked a reevaluation of leaving Confederate symbols intact. Despite the push for removal of such symbols, the SPLC found 2,100 public Confederate symbols which still exist. An NPR investigation found local areas protected 28 Confederate monuments between May and October.

Tiger Woods was in a single-vehicle car crash around 7:12 a.m. PST on Hawthorne Blvd. in Los Angeles. A crew member said Woods had been driving quickly down a curved hill known for accidents. Wood’s vehicle hit the center median and crossed a lane of traffic where it hit a curb and then a tree. The car rolled several times, destroying the exterior but leaving the interior intact. Responders said Woods could have been fatally injured if he had not been wearing his seatbelt. Woods injured his right leg in multiple places and underwent surgery to stabilize his tibia with additional instruments to stabilize his foot and ankle. As of 2:30 a.m. on Jan. 24, Woods was awake and responsive after the surgery.

Boeing 777 airplanes with Pratt and Whitney PW 4000 engines are now under emergency inspection ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration. United Airlines flight 328 made an emergency landing when the engine blew apart. No one was injured and the plane landed safely. All 777 planes are now grounded and will not fly until inspections are complete. Operators will conduct a thermal acoustic image inspection of the fan blades in the engines for any cracks that would cause failure. United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier who flies Boeing 777 aircraft with that engine, although there are 128 in use worldwide. The FAA’s mandate only applies to U.S. airlines, but most international aviation regulators generally issue the same mandate.


The Oklahoma Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 272 on Wednesday, Feb. 24. This bill is known as the “Kelsey Smith Act,” which requires cell phone companies to provide location information during emergencies. Such emergencies must have risk of physical harm or death. An abduction in Kansas in 2007 inspired the bill after the victim was found murdered. Sen. Darrell Weaver, the author of the bill, said he does not want to see that happen. “Here in Oklahoma, I think cell providers have worked well with law enforcement, but this legislation will help us ensure a consistent approach and provide liability protection for companies acting in good faith when moments count.”

An Oklahoma County Detention Center spokesman said two Oklahoma County detention officers were fired and arrested for complaints of conspiracy to commit a felony. They also were charged with possession of a controlled dangerous substance which they tried to smuggle into the detention center.

On Wednesday, Feb. 24, President Joe Biden approved delivery of FEMA Public Assistance to areas in every Oklahoma county after damage from the recent winter storm. Gov. Kevin Stitt asked for the additional aid on Tuesday, Feb. 23, and recently said he will request for more counties to be approved for the Individual Assistance which was promised to 16 counties across Oklahoma: Canadian, Carter, Cherokee, Comanche, Cotton, Hughes, Jefferson, Le Flore, McIntosh, Oklahoma, Okmulgee, Osage, Pittsburg, Stephens, Tulsa and Wagoner. This aid will benefit homeowners, renters and business owners.

On Monday Feb. 22, a 13-year-old Native American boy from McIntosh County was reported missing. Muscogee Nation Lighthorse police officers, Oklahoma Highway Patrol and the McIntosh County Sheriff’s deputies searched the Stidham and other areas for Ethan McIntosh. McIntosh was found on Tuesday, Feb. 23 uninjured 20 miles away from where he went missing. McIntosh is the son of Peggy McGuire, who has been missing since November 2015. McGuire had filed protective orders against Thomas McIntosh, her son’s father, in 2006 and 2013. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation released the results of multiple search warrants for Peggy McGuire in 2016.

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