Articles from the April 17, 2024 edition


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  • A 9-year-old boy's dream of a pet octopus is a sensation as thousands follow Terrance's story online

    ANITA SNOW|Apr 17, 2024

    The one thing 9-year-old Cal Clifford wanted more than anything since he was a toddler was a pet octopus. The boy's family in rural Edmond, Oklahoma, humored him with toy versions of an eight-legged mollusk, but as Cal got older it became clear that only the real thing would do. The child's father, 36-year-old dentist Cameron Clifford, researched the possibility with a local aquarium store and before long Terrance the California two-spot octopus, also known as a bimac, was living in a watery enclosure at the family home southwest of Oklahoma...

  • Much of central US faces severe thunderstorm threat and possible tornadoes

    Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Tens of millions of Americans stretching from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Baltimore could face strong thunderstorms Monday night through Wednesday, with tornadoes possible in some states. A large storm system hitting much of the central U.S. over the next few days is expected to bring severe thunderstorms to Kansas and Nebraska on Monday evening, the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said. The two states could see strong tornadoes, too, while parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Virginia face a slight risk. Severe s...

  • Texas inmate Melissa Lucio's death sentence should be overturned, judge says

    JUAN A. LOZANO|Apr 17, 2024

    HOUSTON (AP) — A judge has recommended that the conviction and death sentence of Melissa Lucio, a Texas woman whose execution was delayed in 2022 amid growing doubts she fatally beat her 2-year-old daughter, should be overturned amid findings that evidence in her murder trial was suppressed. Senior State District Judge Arturo Nelson on Friday approved an agreement between prosecutors and Lucio's attorneys that found the suppressed evidence, including witness statements from Lucio's children and a report by Child Protective Services, would h...

  • Texas fined $100,000 per day for failing to act on foster care abuse allegations

    Apr 17, 2024

    CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (AP) — A federal judge is fining Texas $100,000 per day for routinely neglecting to adequately investigate allegations of abuse and neglect raised by children in the state's struggling foster care system. U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack in Corpus Christi ruled Monday that the Texas Health and Human Services agency has shown contempt of her orders to fix the way the state investigates complaints by children in its care. This is the third such contempt finding in a case that began with a 2011 lawsuit over foster c...

  • The Biden administration recruits 15 states to help enforce airline consumer laws

    DAVID KOENIG|Apr 17, 2024

    The Biden administration is enlisting the help of officials in 15 states to enforce consumer-protection laws covering airline travelers, a power that by law is limited to the federal government. The U.S. Department of Transportation said Tuesday that the states, which include California, New York and Illinois, will help ensure that government enforcement activities keep up with a current boom in air travel. Under an agreement announced by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, state attorney general offices will be able to investigate...

  • Suspect arrested after allegedly killing a man at a northern New Mexico rest stop, stealing cars

    Apr 17, 2024

    RATON, N.M. (AP) — A suspect has been arrested after allegedly killing a man at a northern New Mexico rest area, stealing a vehicle at knifepoint and leading state police on a car chase, authorities said Tuesday. Police said 21-year-old Dorien Ray was arrested Monday on suspicion of numerous charges including first-degree murder, armed robbery and possession of a stolen vehicle. Ray allegedly was driving a car reported stolen from Aurora, Colorado, when he stopped around 7 a.m. at a rest stop in Colfax County south of Raton. Ray is accused o...

  • Owners of a Colorado funeral home where 190 decaying bodies were found are charged with COVID fraud

    JESSE BEDAYN and COLLEEN SLEVIN|Apr 17, 2024

    DENVER (AP) — A couple who owned a Colorado funeral home where authorities last year discovered 190 decaying bodies were indicted on federal charges that they misspent nearly $900,000 in pandemic relief funds on vacations, cosmetic surgery, jewelry and other personal expenses, according to court documents unsealed Monday. The indictment reaffirms accusations from state prosecutors that Jon and Carie Hallford gave families dry concrete instead of cremated ashes and alleges the couple buried the wrong body on two occasions. The couple also c...

  • Niko Medved signs long-term extension to remain coach at Colorado State

    PAT GRAHAM|Apr 17, 2024

    Colorado State coach Niko Medved agreed to an extension with the Rams that will keep him with the program through the 2028-29 season and possibly longer. The deal was announced by the school Monday and includes two options for the 2029-30 and '30-31 seasons. Medved led the Rams to 25 wins this season and a spot in the NCAA Tournament. He was recently named the recipient of the Skip Prosser man of the year award, which goes to the Division I coach who wins with integrity on and off the court. "The culture of success Niko has built around our men...

  • Semiautomatic firearm ban passes Colorado's House, heads to Senate

    Apr 17, 2024

    DENVER (AP) — Colorado's Democratic-controlled House on Sunday passed a bill that would ban the sale and transfer of semiautomatic firearms, a major step for the legislation after roughly the same bill was swiftly killed by Democrats last year. The bill, which passed on a 35-27 vote, is now on its way to the Democratic-led state Senate. If it passes there, it could bring Colorado in line with 10 other states — including California, New York and Illinois — that have prohibitions on semiautomatic guns. But even in a state plagued by some of the n...

  • First six jurors are chosen for Trump's hush money criminal trial

    MICHAEL R. SISAK and JENNIFER PELTZ|Apr 17, 2024

    NEW YORK (AP) — The first six jurors for Donald Trump's hush money trial were chosen Tuesday after lawyers grilled members of the jury pool about their social media posts, political views and personal lives to decide whether they can sit in fair judgment of the former president. The court began filling out the jury of 12 people, along with six alternates, who will decide whether to convict Trump of charges accusing him of falsifying business records to cover up a sex scandal during his 2016 presidential campaign. Possible jurors were quizzed f...

  • House Republicans send Mayorkas impeachment articles to the Senate, forcing a trial

    MARY CLARE JALONICK and STEPHEN GROVES|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The House sent two articles of impeachment against Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to the Senate on Tuesday, forcing a trial on allegations that he has "willfully and systematically" refused to enforce immigration laws. While the Senate is obligated to hold a trial under the rules of impeachment once the charges are walked across the Capitol, the proceedings may not last long. Democrats are expected to try to dismiss or table the charges later this week before the full arguments get underway. After walking t...

  • Fed's Powell: Elevated inflation will likely delay rate cuts this year

    CHRISTOPHER RUGABER|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell cautioned Tuesday that persistently elevated inflation will likely delay any Fed interest rate cuts until later this year, opening the door to a period of higher-for-longer rates. "Recent data have clearly not given us greater confidence" that inflation is coming fully under control and "instead indicate that it's likely to take longer than expected to achieve that confidence," Powell said during a panel discussion at the Wilson Center. "If higher inflation does persist," he said, "we can m...

  • West Virginia transgender sports ban discriminates against teen athlete, appeals court says

    JOHN RABY|Apr 17, 2024

    CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia's transgender sports ban violates the rights of a teen athlete under Title IX, the federal civil rights law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in schools, an appeals court ruled Tuesday. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 that the law cannot be applied to a 13-year-old who has been taking puberty-blocking medication and publicly identified as a girl since she was in the third grade. In February 2023, the court had blocked the state's bid to kick Becky Pepper Jackson off her middle s...

  • UK lawmakers back landmark bill to gradually phase out smoking for good

    SYLVIA HUI|Apr 17, 2024

    LONDON (AP) — The British government's plan for a landmark smoking ban that aims to stop young people from ever smoking cleared its first hurdle in Parliament on Tuesday despite vocal opposition from within Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's Conservative Party. The bill, a key policy announced by Sunak last year, would make it illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone born after January 1, 2009. If passed, the bill will give Britain some of the toughest anti-smoking measures in the world. Authorities say it will create modern Britain's "first s...

  • Facing a Republican revolt, House Speaker Johnson pushes ahead on US aid for Ukraine, allies

    LISA MASCARO|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Defiant and determined, House Speaker Mike Johnson pushed back Tuesday against mounting Republican anger over his proposed U.S. aid package for Ukraine, Israel and other allies, and rejected a call to step aside or risk a vote to oust him from office. "I am not resigning," Johnson said after a testy morning meeting of fellow House Republicans at the Capitol Johnson referred to himself as a "wartime speaker" of the House and indicated in his strongest self-defense yet he would press forward with a U.S. national security aid p...

  • Yellen says Iran's actions could cause global 'economic spillovers' and warns of more sanctions

    FATIMA HUSSEIN|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Tuesday of potential global economic damage from rising tensions in the Middle East and pledged that the U.S. and its allies won't hesitate to use their sanctions powers to address Iran's "malign and destabilizing activity" in the region. She made her remarks ahead of this week's spring meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank, saying Iran's weekend missile attack on Israel "underscores the importance of Treasury's work to use our economic tools to counter Iran's m...

  • Biden's latest plan for student loan cancellation moves forward as a proposed regulation

    COLLIN BINKLEY|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden's latest plan for student loan cancellation is moving forward as a proposed regulation, offering him a fresh chance to deliver on a campaign promise and energize young voters ahead of the November election. The Education Department on Tuesday filed paperwork for a new regulation that would deliver the cancellation that Biden announced last week. It still has to go through a 30-day public comment period and another review before it can be finalized. It's a more targeted proposal than the one the U.S. S...

  • Only 1 in 3 US adults think Trump acted illegally in New York hush money case, AP-NORC poll shows

    THOMAS BEAUMONT and AMELIA THOMSON-DEVEAUX|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The first criminal trial facing former President Donald Trump is also the one in which Americans are least convinced he committed a crime, a new AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll finds. Only about one-third of U.S. adults say Trump did something illegal in the hush money case for which jury selection began Monday, while close to half think he did something illegal in the other three criminal cases pending against him. And they're fairly skeptical that Trump is getting a fair shake from the prosecutors in the c...

  • Torch and sandals: What to know about the flame-lighting ceremony in Greece for the Paris Olympics

    NICHOLAS PAPHITIS|Apr 17, 2024

    ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (AP) — A priestess prays to a dead sun god in front of a fallen Greek temple. If the sky is clear, a flame spurts that will burn in Paris throughout the world's top sporting event. Speeches ensue. On Tuesday, the flame for this summer's Paris Olympics was lit at the birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games in southern Greece in a meticulously choreographed ceremony. It will then be carried through Greece for more than 5,000 kilometers (3,100 miles) before being handed over to French organizers at the Athens venue used f...

  • New recruiting programs put Army, Air Force on track to meet enlistment goals. Navy will fall short

    LOLITA C. BALDOR|Apr 17, 2024

    WASHINGTON (AP) — After several difficult years, the Army and Air Force say they are on track to meet their recruiting goals this year, reversing previous shortfalls using a swath of new programs and policy changes. But the Navy, while improving, expects once again to fall short. The mixed results reflect the ongoing challenges for the U.S. military as it struggles to attract recruits in a tight job market, where companies are willing to pay more and provide good benefits without the demands of service and warfighting. And even those who are m...

  • Three injured in Alfalfa County collision

    Marione Martin|Apr 17, 2024

    Three people, including a three-year-old child, were injured when two vehicles collided at an intersection in Alfalfa County Monday. The child was transported by Alfalfa County EMS to the Cherokee Airport where she was flown by Survival Flight to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kansas. She was admitted in stable condition with head injuries. One driver, Brandy Taylor Harrison, 24, of Cherokee, was transported by Alfalfa County EMS to Wesley Medical Center in Wichita. She was admitted in stable condition for head and trunk injuries. The other... Full story

  • Bond denied for 4 'God's Misfits' defendants in the killing of 2 Kansas women

    Apr 17, 2024

    GUYMON, Okla. (AP) — An Oklahoma judge ordered public defenders to represent four members of an anti-government group who appeared in court Wednesday on charges of kidnapping and killing two Kansas women. The judge also entered not-guilty pleas and denied bail for Tifany Adams, 54, and her boyfriend Tad Cullum, 43, both of Keyes, Oklahoma, as well as Cole and Cora Twombly of Texhoma, Oklahoma. Texas County Associate District Judge Clark Jett assigned the Oklahoma Indigent Defense System to represent all four defendants, OIDS Executive D...

  • Ex-Oklahoma softball star Jocelyn Alo has signed to play in Athletes Unlimited's AUX season

    CLIFF BRUNT|Apr 17, 2024

    Former Oklahoma softball star Jocelyn Alo has signed with Athletes Unlimited for its AUX season in June. Alo is a two-time USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year who helped Oklahoma win two national titles. She plays for the Oklahoma City Spark, but Spark owner Tina Floyd agreed to her playing for Athletes Unlimited. "Athletes Unlimited is where the world's best professional athletes compete, and few have lit up the softball field more in recent years than Jocelyn Alo, so I'm thrilled to officially welcome her to our family," Cheri Kempf,...

  • How Kansas women's disappearance on a drive to pick up kids led to 4 arrests in Oklahoma

    SEAN MURPHY and HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH|Apr 17, 2024

    OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A two-week search for two missing Kansas women came to a fatal end last weekend when Oklahoma authorities confirmed the two were dead and announced the arrests of four people who allegedly belonged to an anti-government group that called themselves "God's Misfits." Veronica Butler, 27, and Jilian Kelley, 39, of Hugoton, Kansas, disappeared on March 30 while driving to pick up Butler's two children for a birthday party. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation confirmed on Tuesday that the bodies found in Texas County w...

  • Alfalfa County court filings

    Apr 17, 2024

    According to the affidavits and petitions on file, the following individuals have been charged. An individual is innocent of any charges listed below until proven guilty in a court of law. All information is a matter of public record and may be obtained by anyone during regular hours at the Alfalfa County Courthouse. The Newsgram will not intentionally alter or delete any of this information. If it appears in the courthouse public records, it will appear in this newspaper, Civil Filings LVNV Funding LLC vs. Erica Lynch, Carmen: indebtedness...

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