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AM Sacramento: Here’s what you need to know for Friday

Good morning. Here’s what you need to know today:

Hot weather, bad air: Triple-digit heat and poor air quality are on tap today, with a high temperature of 101 degrees expected in downtown Sacramento, according to the National Weather Service. Today also has been declared a Spare the Air day, with ozone levels in the region that are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Opinions shift: Support for the death penalty in California is at its lowest point in nearly 50 years, although more than half of the state’s registered voters still favor it, a new Field Poll has found. The poll found 56 percent still believe the death penalty should be kept as a punishment for serious crimes, with 34 percent opposed and 10 percent undecided.

Witness fatally shot: A man who was shot and killed Tuesday night in his vehicle near the Arden Fair mall was the key witness in the recent “barbershop” murder trial in Sacramento. Marquelle “Qeazy” Jones, 24, delivered key testimony against the two defendants in the trial who were convicted of first-degree murder Aug. 20 in Sacramento Superior Court.

Related Sacramento Bee stories:

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Defense attorney scores a rare not-guilty verdict in Sacramento murder trial

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Acquitted barbershop defendant released on bail

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Jury convicts three of four accused in barbershop killing


Electronic test: They’ve thrown away the pencils and paper at the Department of Motor Vehicles. As of now in California, the old written driver license test is no more. The state DMV is giving the test on touch screens in 120 of its 170 field offices, reports Tony Bizjak in his Back-seat Driver column.

Aquatic center OK’d: Elk Grove leaders have approved plans for an aquatic center, but soundly rejected a companion waterpark proposed for the site. The nearly $17 million competitive swim venue on 30 acres at Civic Center Drive near Big Horn Drive will go out for bid in 2015 and could be completed as early as 2016, said city staffers. The project – a projected home for high school, college and club teams – would include a swimming pool, dive pool and diving tower, as well as bleacher seating for 1,000 spectators.

Circus comes to town: Plenty of big cats and other attractions will entertain audiences when the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus opens a four-day run today at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena. Watch a Sacramento Bee video of the big cats getting ready for their show:

Let the laughs begin: The 2014 Comedy Festival begins a nine-day run with a lineup that includes England’s legendary Cambridge Footlights and a reunion of the Free Hooch Comedy Troupe, a sketch and improv group. The festival’s signature event has become a standup competition with more than $2,000 in cash prizes. The event is at Brian Crall’s Comedy Spot in the MARRS building, 20th and J streets in midtown Sacramento.

Local sports: Oakland A’s at Seattle Mariners, 7:10 p.m. (CSNCA, KHTK 1140)

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants, 7:15 p.m. (Channel 31, KNBR 680). The Giants, two games behind the Dodgers in the National League West standings, open a key three-game series against their rivals at AT&T Park.

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