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News Brief: Week of Sept. 30-Oct. 6


Kavanaugh confirmed

Fifty out of 98 U.S. Senators voted Saturday to confirm Justice Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, effectively securing a conservative majority in the judicial branch for the foreseeable future.

Thousands of protestors filled the steps of the U.S. Capitol during the vote, interrupting the proceedings by banging on doors and chanting “Kavanaugh has to go”. More than 300 protesters were arrested last week, according to U.S. Capitol Police.

Intense media scrutiny and public outcry has surrounded Kavanaugh since Sept. 14, when it was revealed the FBI would investigate allegations of prior sexual misconduct against him.

Two days later, California professor Christine Blasey Ford came forward with allegations against Kavanaugh, saying he attempted to sexually assault her when she was 15.

After a day of high-stakes testimony from both Ford and Kavanaugh on Sept. 27, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted 11-10 to send Kavanaugh’s nomination to the senate floor. Immediately following the vote, the committee ordered a weeklong delay to allow for further FBI investigation. (New York Times)

Chicago cop convicted

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty Friday on one count of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke shot McDonaldwho was holding a small knife16 times from approximately 15 feet Oct. 20, 2014. Video footage of the shooting was released November 2015, sparking protests throughout Chicago and nationwide.

Fearing violent protests in the wake of the verdict, several Chicago businesses boarded up windows and closed for the day, according to the Chicago Tribune. However, the jury’s guilty verdict drew praise from several local politicians and church leaders.

Deadly limousine crash

Twenty people in upstate New York were killed early Sunday morning when a wedding limousine collided with another vehicle.

The crash occurred in the small town of Schoharie, a tourist destination 160 miles north of New York City. Names of the victims have yet to be released. (USA Today)

Gas prices rising

Gas prices are rising as the summer driving season ends.

A strengthening global economy and international politics are to blame for the highest gas prices consumers have seen since 2014, according to USA Today. The current national average for a gallon of gas is $2.91.

As the Nov. 6 general election day approaches, analysts warn some voters may be steered away from the polls due to high prices, while others may be inclined to vote “no” on measures, which would increase taxes on gasoline.


Football players being investigated

Four Putnam City West football players may soon face felony charges after they allegedly sexually assaulted a 14-year-old teammate with the end of a broomstick.

The players confessed to police, saying they were taking part in a hazing tradition called ‘brooming,’ according to NewsOK.  

Putnam City Campus Police Chief Mark Stout told NewsOK he will meet with the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office today to discuss possible charges, including rape by instrumentation. One 18-year-old suspect will be charged as an adult, while the other suspects between 15 and 17 years old may be charged either as adults or youthful offenders.

In a similar case two years ago, four Norman North High School wrestlers were arrested after they allegedly sexually assaulted two fellow wrestlers, ages 12 and 16. Charges were later dropped for the three minor offenders, while 18-year-old Tanner Shipman pled guilty to two counts of assault and battery and received six months probation.

Gubernatorial race heating up

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kevin Stitt has the lead in early polling, but the race is still “too close to call.”

According to polling released Friday by Oklahoma City-based research firm Cole Hargrave Snodgrass and Associates, 46 percent of Oklahomans say they will vote for Stitt, while Democratic candidate Drew Edmondson trails six points behind at 40 percent.

While trailing behind Stitt in voting numbers, Edmondson sits five points above him in favorability ranking, with 47 percent of voters saying they find Edmondson strongly or somewhat favorable. The poll’s margin of error is 4.3 percent.

Oklahomans will head to the polls for the general election Tuesday, Nov. 6. (Tulsa World)

Streetcar tests route

The long-awaited Bricktown loop streetcar will begin route testing today.

Part of the Maps 3 public works project, the Bricktown streetcar will connect the east side of Bricktown to Chesapeake Energy Arena and Myriad Gardens. The other streetcar, known as the Downtown Loop, will run north toward Midtown.  

Upon opening to the public, fares will cost $1 per boarding. The Bricktown Loop is set to run once every 12 minutes.


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