5 things to know: Friday - FOX34 Lubbock

5 things to know: Friday

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1 hearing, 2 witnesses, but vastly different takeaways

NEW YORK (AP) - It was one hearing with just two witnesses but, in an era of deep political polarization and yawning cultural divisions, Americans came away Thursday having heard very different things.

Millions of men and women listened to nervous-but-composed college professor Christine Blasey Ford tell the Senate Judiciary Committee she was "100 percent" certain that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually abused her as a teenager, and they lauded her courage in speaking out.

Millions of others saw a woman with a spotty memory who failed to prove Kavanaugh was her abuser, and believed the judge as he repeatedly choked up and vigorously defended himself. "The allegation of misconduct is completely inconsistent with the rest of my life," he said.

Americans followed the hours of testimony and subsequent questions from their homes, in their cars, in offices and in classrooms. Wherever they were, though, it seemed most responded through the prism of their political bents and personal experiences. Few Americans interviewed by The Associated Press seemed to have had their minds changed by anything they heard.


Former Texas Tech chancellor David R. Smith pleads guilty to official misconduct

LUBBOCK, Texas - Former Texas Tech Chancellor and former president of upstate Medical University in Syracuse, David R. Smith, pleads guilty to three counts of official misconduct. 

This according to a report by the Times Union in Albany, New York. He admits to secretly boosting his annual pay by more than $28,000 and used un-authorized expenses to increase his $5,000 a month allowance.

Smith resigned as Tech Chancellor in February of 2006 and was president of Suny from 2006 to 2013. 

According to the report he agreed to pay $250,000 in restitution and fines as part of his plea to three misdemeanor charges in Syracuse city court.


Two South Plains schools receive thousands in grant dollars

LUBBOCK, Texas - Levelland High and Shallowater Middle School both receive thousands of dollars in grants to grow rural education by enhancing their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs.

Shallowater Middle received $10,000, all going toward technology improvements in classrooms.

"The majority of the money is going toward purchasing chrome books for our students," said Aron Strickland, Principal of Shallowater. "The acquisition of the chrome books is actually part of a larger initiative on our campuses part just to promote more of a blended learning environment for our students."

At Levelland administrators are using its $25,000 grant to purchase a plasma cam.

Shallowater is expecting a few hundred Chromebooks to be in the classrooms soon. Levelland is still shopping for its plasma cam. 


Public transportation an issue tied to work requirements for SNAP program in Farm Bill

LUBBOCK, Texas - As the Farm Bill approaches its deadline Sunday, Congress is split on work requirements in the SNAP program, among other obstacles that are holding up a deal. 

Andy Black, with Texas Hunger Initiative, said there is a gray area with the work requirements issue in the SNAP program, adding people need a foundation of support to get their lives on track.

"It's not just about work and not work. It's about what's the best way, what's the kind of support that's going to be most effective on how much funding is really needed to do that. Who or what organization provide the best kinds of support to help folks that aren't working move to a place where they are economically sufficient because of their employment," Black said.

The SNAP program affects more than one in eight Texan households, and Morris added he would like to see employers be more flexible with hours to allow people to find a method of transportation in time to get them to work. 


Police chief: 'I'm heartbroken' after body found

GASTONIA, N.C. (AP) - The chief of a North Carolina police department said he was "heartbroken" over the discovery of a body believed to be that of a missing 6-year-old boy.

Gastonia Police Chief Robert Helton fought back tears and a breaking voice at a news conference Thursday to announce officials believed the body searchers found was that of Maddox Ritch. The boy's father said he ran off from him as he and a friend walked at Rankin Lake Park last weekend. Ian Ritch said he couldn't catch up with his son because he has neuropathy in his feet due to diabetes.

Gastonia Fire Chief Phil Welch said the body was found in a creek, slightly more than a mile (1.6 kilometers) east of the park, by a searcher who was walking down the middle of the creek as his partners stood on the bank. He said the area had been searched previously by drones, all-terrain vehicles and on foot.

FBI agent Jason Kaplan said the investigation is continuing.

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