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News Brief: Week of Oct. 7-13

NATIONAL

Hurricane Michael slams the southeast U.S.

Category 4 Hurricane Michael battered the southeast U.S. Wednesday through Friday, causing at least 18 deaths and billions in property damage.

After making landfall on the Florida panhandle Wednesday afternoon, Michael sustained tropical storm strength for days as it carved a path of destruction from the gulf coast to inland Virginia. Coastal cities such as Mexico Beach, FL were wiped out completely by storm surge and violent winds, while extremely heavy rainfall wreaked havoc on inland cities like Roanoke, VA.

According to CNN, Michael was the strongest storm to make landfall on the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

Nikki Haley resigns

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley will step down from her position at the end of 2018.

In a joint press conference with President Donald Trump on Tuesday, Haley said she felt the “natural time” had come for her to resign and she would not seek to run against Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

Potential candidates to replace Haley include Kelly Craft, current U.S. ambassador to Canada, and Nancy Brinkman, founder of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. (USA Today)

U.S. pastor freed

After being detained in Turkey for two years, American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from confinement on Friday and returned to U.S. soil a day later.

Brunson was arrested October 2016 by Turkish authorities who linked him to a failed coup attempt. As he remained imprisoned for several months, Brunson’s arrest drew criticism first from evangelical leaders in the U.S., and later from high-ranking figures like Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump.

A Turkish court found Brunson guilty of charges related to terrorism and espionage but sentenced him to time served. In a tweet sent Saturday morning, President Trump denied making a deal to secure Brunson’s release, saying “I don’t make deals for hostages.” (NPR)

LOCAL

Fall Tornadoes

Tornado-warned storms rolled through Central Oklahoma Tuesday morning, causing property damage but no injuries or deaths.

In Midwest City, cars were flipped over in a J.C. Penney parking lot as an EF-1 tornado moved through the area. Further east, roofs were ripped apart in the Choctaw area. At Frontier City in north Oklahoma City, two people were rescued from an elevator after power at the park went out. (NewsOK)

Maps 4 ideas

Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt is asking metro area residents to propose ideas for a potential MAPS 4 public works initiative project with the hashtag #idea4maps.

Since 1993, three renditions of MAPS have brought infrastructure improvements, new sports arenas and recreational centers to Oklahoma City. MAPS projects are funded through a temporary one cent sales tax.

The current MAPS sales tax for street resurfacing and improvements expires April 1, 2020.

Proposed ideas from citizens include extending the MAPS 3 streetcar route, building a soccer arena for the Oklahoma City Energy and creating more trails and sidewalks.

A vote on MAPS 4 will likely take place sometime in early 2020. (NewsOK)

Putnam City West student charged

Charges have been filed against a Putnam City West football player accused of assaulting a younger teammate.

Dawson Michael McLain, 19, faces one felony count of assault with a deadly weapon after he allegedly held a freshman football player down in the varsity locker room and assaulted him with the end of a broomstick. In an interview with police, McLain and three minor suspects referred to the activity as a hazing tradition known as ‘brooming’.

The minor suspects, between the ages of 15 and 17, may face charges either as adults or youthful offenders.

One school administrator has been placed on administrative leave while the event is investigated. (KOCO)

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