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Featured Four: Earthquakes; Oklahoma City VA Patient Care; LGBTQ Protections; AT&T Vs. Griffin

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Four stories that were trending or generated discussion online or on KGOU’s social media platforms during the past week.

At about 10:30 Wednesday night, a pair of earthquakes the Oklahoma Geological Survey rated magnitude 4.7 struck near the northwest Oklahoma town of Fairview, barely 30 seconds apart. More than a dozen smaller earthquakes were recorded nearby shortly before and after. They were the strongest earthquakes in Oklahoma since the magnitude 5.6 temblor that hit Prague in November 2011.
2015 already saw a record number of earthquakes in Oklahoma, and StateImpact Oklahoma’s Joe Wertz has been following the uptick to kick off 2016.

The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Credit Oklahoma City VA Medical Center / Facebook
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Facebook
The Veterans Administration Medical Center in Oklahoma City.

The federal government is exploring allegations that patients received inadequate care at Oklahoma City’s VA Medical Center.
Two patients – one a World War II veteran, the other a Vietnam vet – say the Oklahoma City VA facility misdiagnosed them and created a whole new set of medical problems.

The latest story from reporter Donovan Slack – who’s been following this for USA Today – indicates there could be a conflict of interest. A top official at the Department of Veteran Affairs who’s overseeing the investigation is the older brother of the VA Medical Center’s chief of staff.

Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, speaks before the Oklahoma City Council before a council vote January 5, 2016.
Credit Brent Fuchs / The Journal Record
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The Journal Record
Troy Stevenson, executive director of Freedom Oklahoma, speaks before the Oklahoma City Council before a council vote January 5, 2016.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the city council voted 5-4 to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in Oklahoma City’s fair housing ordinance.
Oklahoma City’s ordinance about housing discrimination hasn’t been updated since 1980, which was before family status and disability were recognized as protected classes under the federal Fair Housing Act.

Because Oklahoma City has no investigative agency to support the criminal prosecution of housing discrimination complaints, they'll be referred to the Attorney General's Office of Civil Rights.

The studios of KWTV News 9 in Oklahoma City.
Credit Samuel Perry / The Journal Record
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The Journal Record
The studios of KWTV News 9 in Oklahoma City.

One of the most popular stories on our website over the past week actually saw a resolution on Thursday.
Reader Patricia Kay Sheid wrote: “Worse time of year possible for a blackout. Both parties should do the right thing. Think of your customers first!!!!!!!!”

On Thursday, News 9’s parent company, Griffin Communications, reached a deal with AT&T to bring KWTV and KSBI back to central Oklahoma U-verse cable customers. The contract between the two companies expired at 6 p.m. Wednesday, and they’d been in negotiation for weeks over how much AT&T should pay to carry the CBS programming that includes February’s Grammy Awards, and NFL playoff games and the Super Bowl.

Both companies issued statements apologizing for the disruption.

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