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PM NewsBrief: Oct. 25, 2022

This is the KGOU PM NewsBrief for Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022.

Inflation polling

A new poll finds many Oklahomans are cutting back on spending due to inflation. According to a poll by Amber Integrated of Oklahoma City, inflation has forced 60 percent of Oklahoma voters to cut spending on essentials like groceries and on discretionary items like travel. Only 17 percent of the 500 voters surveyed haven’t cut back their spending.

The biggest percentages by age of people cutting back were those between 40 and 49 and those 70 and older. Recent figures from the federal government show that the region that includes Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas has experienced higher inflation than the national average, despite the region’s traditionally lower cost of living.

COVID-19 vaccines for school

The CDC has advised that children take the COVID-19 vaccine before attending school. That doesn’t mean it will be required for attendance as misinformation swirls around the ruling.

The CDC’s advisory is routine and simply means the federal agency recommends kids get the COVID-19 vaccine before attending school. Required vaccines for school are ultimately determined by individual states. And a 2021 law in Oklahoma prohibits a coronavirus vaccine from being required for admittance to a school. But that hasn’t stopped misinformation from spreading. Attorney General John O’Connor signed onto a public letter of GOP Attorneys General opposing the CDC’s advisory. Last week, Governor Kevin Stitt put out a statement saying he would never require the COVID-19 vaccine to attend school. It’s true, no vaccine for the coronavirus can be required to attend school. But no matter what, health officials and doctors advise getting one. The vaccine for COVID-19 has repeatedly been found to be safe and effective.

Wild otters released

Four rehabbed river otters were released back into the wild last week. WildCare Oklahoma, a wildlife rehabilitation facility in Noble, took in the otters when they were just weeks old. Three of the four are littermates, whose mother was killed in an equipment accident. A fourth abandoned otter pup joined a few weeks later, and animal care staff raised them for months, dreaming of this day. Hannah Altonji is the Animal Care Manager at WildCare.

"We’re just proud to see them all grown up and ready to go. As soon as we opened up those kennels, they knew exactly what to do," Altonji said.

And they did. Within minutes, the four otters were gliding and somersaulting with the current. Dr. Kyle Abbott says months of care have led up to this special day.

"This is what it is all about. We always have this goal at the very end in our minds," Abbott said.

As they made their way down the river, staff members hugged each other and watched in reverence. From abandoned, bottle-fed babies to rambunctious, healthy adolescents, these river otters will get to continue their journey in the wild.
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Logan Layden is a reporter and managing editor for StateImpact Oklahoma. Logan spent six years as a reporter with StateImpact from 2011 to 2017.