Government shutdown continues
Furloughed federal workers missed their first paychecks as President Donald Trump teased the idea of declaring a national emergency during the third week of a record 22-day partial government shutdown.
After a series of unsuccessful meetings with Democratic leaders, Trump made his case for border wall funding to the American public in a nationally televised address on Tuesday night. Speaking for approximately 10 minutes, Trump called the situation at the border “a humanitarian crisis” which only a physical wall could properly contain. Reporters and television anchors quickly noted several factual errors and misleading statements made by the president during his address.
Democrats, many of whom say the president has unfairly exaggerated the severity of the illegal immigration issue for political gain, are so far unwilling to approve a $5.6 billion appropriation to begin construction on the southern border wall. In a meeting with Trump a day after his nationally televised address, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi declined to budge on providing border wall funding, to which the president responded by walking out of the room.
With no deal in place, 800,000 federal workers missed their first paycheck on Friday. Some furloughed workers began applying for unemployment benefits, while the Professional Air Traffic Controllers union sued Trump on Friday for being forced to work without pay.
Speaking to the press last week, Trump threatened on multiple occasions to declare a national emergency as a means to bypass Congress in obtaining funds to build the border wall. It remains unclear if the president could successfully appropriate money from outside military and disaster relief funds to fund the wall without going through Congress.
Missing teenager found alive
A 13-year-old girl held captive for nearly three months by the man who murdered her parents was found alive in a rural northwest Wisconsin town on Thursday.
Local authorities say 21-year-old Jake Thomas Patterson killed James Closs, 56, and his wife Denise, 46, in their Barron, WI, home on Oct. 15, and then abducted their 13-year-old daughter, Jayme. According to police, it appears Patterson entered the home with the sole intention of taking the teenager.
Jayme was able to escape from Patterson’s residence, located 70 miles north of her house in the rural town of Gordon, and ask a woman walking her dog for help. The woman called 911, and Jayme was returned to safety.
Police soon arrested Patterson, who has no prior criminal record, on two complaints of first-degree intentional homicide and one complaint of kidnapping.
Winter storm hits midwest
A dangerous winter storm slammed the midwest U.S. on Saturday, dropping more than one foot of snow in some locations and claiming seven lives.
The storm has now moved into the mid-Atlantic, where it is projected to dump between 8 and 12 inches of snow through tomorrow.
In anticipation of the storm, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency on Saturday.
Flu virus spreading
The influenza virus has claimed the lives of 13 Oklahomans and hospitalized 331 since the start of the 2018-2019 flu season, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
In an effort to slow the virus’ spread, the OSDH is offering free flu shots at all three Oklahoma City-County Health locations from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Friday. The vaccine—which takes approximately two weeks to fully take effect—is proven to lessen the likelihood of catching the flu virus and mitigate its severity if contracted.
In addition to getting a flu shot, OSDH officials say the public should remember to wash their hands, cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing and avoid close contact with sick people.
Stitt inauguration today
Gov.-elect Kevin Stitt, R-Tulsa, will be inaugurated on the south steps of the Oklahoma State Capitol at 11:30 a.m. today, replacing incumbent Gov. Mary Fallin.
Throughout his campaign and in the months following his electoral victory, Stitt has said he will audit state agencies to reduce government spending, promote oil and agriculture business and support pro-life and second amendment interests as governor.
Following the inauguration, a reception ball will take place at the Cox Business Center in downtown Oklahoma City at 7:00 p.m.