Local News

Wichita woman kidnapped this week says bathroom break saved her

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 22:25

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – She was robbed, kidnapped at gun point and forced to drive around town. Now she is opening up about what she says is one of the scariest days of her life.

“I feel like I should be a wreck right now but I am not,” says Sarah Packard.

Sarah Packard keeps things light. So much so, you might not believe what happened to her this week.

“I did not intend for anyone getting in my car that day,” Packard explains.

It was supposed to be a simple exchange. Money for a ring she was selling online. Packard met with the buyer at a local Jimmy Johns.

“He was kind of muttering about how cold it was and it was. It was freezing,” says Packard.

She says she let the buyer, Miguel Ibanez, into her car.

“I had my guard down,” she says.

Instead of pulling out cash, Packard says Ibanez pulled out a gun.

“He just said you are going to drive and you are going to do nothing else,” she says.

So, she drove.

“He said you won’t run because if you run I will get you and I will shoot you,” Packard explains.

Short on options, the 24-year-old woman gripped her rosary beads and followed his directions.

“I react to fear with humor,” says Packard. “So I was trying to make him laugh the whole time. I made him put his seat belt on and he thought that was hilarious. I knew the best plan of action was to be calm and wait for your chance.”

The chance eventually came.

“Yep. My chance was my awfully small bladder.”

She says she told Ibanez she had to go to the bathroom.

“I was trying to make a joke but he believed me I guess because he said well there is a Quik Trip right there go there,” says Packard.

Packard went inside, flagged down an employee, and they called police.

She says a QT employee went above the call of duty when she protected her from Ibanez.

“That is why I called her a hero, because she ran between us and she was amazing and she stared him down and he left,” she says.

It’s a day that changed Packard’s life, but not who she is.

As for the suspect, Ibanez has been booked on charges with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated robbery. He is being held on a $100,000.

Categories: Local KSN News

Serial stowaway arrested again at Chicago’s O’Hare airport

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 22:02

CHICAGO (AP) – A woman with a history of sneaking aboard planes slipped past security at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport this week and was flying to London when the airline realized she didn’t have a ticket.

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says Marilyn Hartman was flown back to Chicago on Thursday night and taken into custody once she arrived. She’s charged with felony theft and a misdemeanor count of criminal trespassing.

Guglielmi says Hartman this week got through a federal Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at a domestic terminal without a ticket before taking a shuttle to the international terminal. A day later she boarded a British Airways flight.

The 66-year-old Hartman has attempted several times to board planes without a ticket. In 2016, she was sentenced in Chicago to six months of house arrest and placed on two years of mental health probation.

Categories: Local KSN News

The Latest: Budget deal ‘Not looking good,’ Trump tweets

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 21:14

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the budget battle in Congress (all times local):

9:47 p.m.

Enough senators have voted against a bill preventing government shutdown to block the measure, roll call still underway.

9:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says efforts to avert a government shutdown are “Not looking good.”

Trump says in a tweet late Friday evening that it’s “Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border.”

Not looking good for our great Military or Safety & Security on the very dangerous Southern Border. Dems want a Shutdown in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 20, 2018

And he’s blaming Democrats, saying they want a federal government shutdown “in order to help diminish the great success of the Tax Cuts, and what they are doing for our booming economy.”

Lawmakers are trying to hash out a deal to keep the federal government open. A partial shutdown will begin at midnight if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill.


8:55 p.m.

Newly minted Alabama Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is breaking ranks with party leaders and will vote for the House-passed Republican bill preventing a federal shutdown.

Jones tells The Associated Press he will “reluctantly” vote for the measure late Friday. He says he’s backing it because the measure contains fresh financing for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which helps low-income children.

It will be Jones’ highest-profile vote since he joined the Senate Jan. 3 after his upset special election victory over conservative Roy Moore.

Democrats say they have the votes to block the GOP measure. Republicans control the Senate 51-49 but need 60 votes to prevail.

Jones joins at least three other Democrats saying they’ll support the bill: North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin.


7:30 p.m.

Administration officials say President Donald Trump would be allowed to travel to Davos, Switzerland, next week even if the government has been partially shut down.

Senior administration officials told reporters in a background briefing call that the president is permitted to continue to exercise his constitutional duties during a funding lapse. That includes carrying out diplomacy.

The officials declined to comment on whether the president would be able to travel to Florida this weekend to spend time at his Mar-a-Lago club.

Trump is planning to attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting next week in Switzerland. He plans to meet with British Prime Minister Theresa May, among others.


7:20 p.m.

The Senate has scheduled a showdown vote for 10 p.m. EST on preventing a federal government shutdown. Democrats are ready to block the Republican measure.

Unless Congress approves some legislation providing money, government agencies will begin shutting down at midnight.

The initial impact on most people will be slight, but the closure will raise the stakes in a partisan fight over immigration and the budget.

The House approved a bill Thursday keeping agencies open through Feb. 16.

Led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, most Democrats are opposing the measure.

Republicans control the Senate 51-49 but need 60 votes to prevail. More than enough Democrats appear ready to vote “no.”


5:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump is striking an optimistic tone as the deadline for a federal government shutdown nears.

Trump tweeted Friday afternoon, less than seven hours before the midnight deadline, that he had “an excellent preliminary meeting” in the Oval Office with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

He is also praising the role being played by fellow Republicans, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan.

Trump says negotiators are “making progress” and says a four-week spending extension “would be best.” That’s what the House passed Thursday.

Schumer told reporters after the White House meeting that progress had been made but a deal had not yet been reached.


2:45 p.m.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer says he and President Donald Trump “made some progress” at a White House meeting, “but we still have a good number of disagreements.”

The New York Democrat said “discussions will continue.”

Trump asked Schumer to the White House for a meeting that lasted more than an hour.

The Oval Office session came with hours to go before a partial government shutdown at midnight.

Schumer’ss pressing for protections for younger immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, but the White House and Republicans say talks on that issue should be kept separate from legislation to prevent a shutdown.


2:30 p.m.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer has left the White House after a lengthy meeting with President Donald Trump.

Trump invited the Senate’s top Democrat to try to reach a deal to avert a government shutdown.

Schumer did not address reporters as he left the building.


12:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump has invited Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer to the White House to try to reach a deal to avoid a government shutdown.

That’s according to a person familiar with Trump’s outreach who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Schumer is expected to meet with Trump shortly.


12:20 p.m.

The House has voted to remain in session — for now at least — while a Senate vote to avert a government shutdown looms.

Republican leaders planned to adjourn Friday after approving a four-week spending bill Thursday night that would avert a government shutdown. They changed course Friday after Democrats forced a formal vote on adjournment. Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, said lawmakers have not completed their work and should not leave Washington.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and other Republicans want to go to Davos, Switzerland “hobnobbing with their elitist friends instead of honoring their responsibilities to the American people.”

A GOP aide said McCarthy won’t attend the World Economic Forum in Davos if the government shuts down.


12 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that Democrats will get the blame for a partial government shutdown that looks increasingly likely.

The Kentucky Republican says Senate Democrats will “own” the shutdown because they oppose a stopgap spending bill to keep the government open for a month.

McConnell says he looks forward to a vote soon, though Democrats and a handful of Republicans are expected to filibuster the measure.


11:45 a.m.

The Trump administration is minimizing the looming budget crisis that could produce a government shutdown, saying former President Barack Obama “weaponized” hardcore negotiating tactics.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters that any such shuttering of the government would “look very different” from the 16-day government closure in 2013 under Obama. He said the previous administration “weaponized” the government shutdown in budget negotiations and did not encourage agencies to lessen the impact with unobligated funds.

He says, “they chose to make it worse.”

Mulvaney and Marc Short, the White House legislative director, spoke as the Republican-controlled Congress battled through budget negotiations in the shadow of a midnight deadline. If no resolution is reached, the government would shut down most operations.


11:40 a.m.

As a government shutdown loomed, the White House said Friday that President Donald Trump would not leave for a planned weekend in Florida unless a spending bill passes.

Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at his Palm Beach estate.

Vice President Mike Pence still plans to travel to the Middle East on Friday night despite the potential for a shutdown of the federal government.


10:25 a.m.

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is putting the chances of a government shutdown at “between 50 and 60 percent.”

Mulvaney spoke to reporters at the White House Friday as the prospect of a shutdown loomed. He said he was “handicapping it” between 50 and 60 percent. But, he added, “we’re planning for it as though it’s 100 percent.”

After the House passed a four-week, government-wide spending bill, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster unless there’s a deal to protect certain young immigrants.

Asked about a Plan B, Mulvaney noted talks over a shorter term deal, but said the House may be leaving which could create a funding lapse.

Still, he said that he’s open to that. He says: “we’d like to keep the government open.”


8:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump will not leave for a weekend at his Palm Beach estate unless a government shutdown is averted.

The White House said Friday that Trump will not head to Florida unless a funding bill passes.

Trump was set to leave Friday afternoon and planned to celebrate the one-year anniversary of his inauguration at Mar-a-Lago.

Trump tweeted Friday morning about the Friday night shutdown deadline, suggesting Democrats would be to blame.


7:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump says Senate Democrats are focused on “illegal immigration and weak borders” as a government shutdown looms.

Trump says on Twitter Friday: “Government Funding Bill past (sic) last night in the House of Representatives. Now Democrats are needed if it is to pass in the Senate – but they want illegal immigration and weak borders.”

He adds: “Shutdown coming? We need more Republican victories in 2018!”

A divided Congress stared down a government shutdown Friday as Republicans and Democrats remain deadlocked on immigration.

After the House passed a four-week, government-wide spending bill, Senate Democrats vowed a filibuster unless there’s a deal to protect around 700,000 immigrants from deportation who arrived in the U.S. as children and stayed illegally.


1:08 a.m.

A bitterly-divided Congress is hurtling toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being deported.

Democrats in the Senate have served notice they will filibuster a four-week, government-wide funding bill that passed the House Thursday evening, seeking to shape a subsequent measure but exposing themselves to charges they are responsible for a looming shutdown.

Republicans controlling the narrowly-divided chamber took up the fight, arguing that Democrats were holding the entire government hostage over demands to protect “Dreamer” immigrants brought to the country illegally as children.

Categories: Local KSN News

McConnell AFB honors memory of ‘Don’ the military dog

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 20:48

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Members of the Security Forces Squadron at McConnell Air Force Base were joined by many others from the base to honor the memory of one of their own.

Named “Don” the military working dog, had served for more than nine years at McConnell. He deployed four times overseas and even helped out the secret service on missions across the country.

“These dogs are special, they work for you, they’re loyal to whoever is at the end of the leash, they never think bad anything about you and they just want to please you,” said Major John Farmer, Commander, 22nd SFS.

Don lost his battle with Cancer in early December and died in the arms of his handler.

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Wichita Police Chief on federal investigation: “There is no place for unethical behavior on this police department”

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:42

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita’s Police Chief is speaking out after two former officers are charged in a federal illegal gambling case.

Chief Gordon Ramsay addressed the media about the illegal gambling investigation and the strides he’s taking to make improvements to the department.

Two former Wichita Police Department officers, Bruce Mackey and Michael Zajkowski were indicted as part of that federal investigation.

Chief Ramsay couldn’t speak on too many of the specifics of the investigation, because it is being headed up by the FBI.

However, he did say he was given word about the investigation when he took over as the department in 2016.

“I was made aware of them upon my arrival, within the first month,” said Chief Ramsay.  “That federal investigation goes all the way back to 2014, when it began and our department had significant involvement in it and all that was laid out yesterday by the US Attorney’s Office and in the indictment,” he added.

Police say both Mackey and Zajkowsi started working for the department back in the 1990’s.

They say one of them left the department in April of last year, the other resigned yesterday.

“They both resigned, their reasons would have to be provided by them,” said Chief Ramsay.

Chief Ramsay says in his two years as chief, he’s tried to ramp up the expectations he has for his officers.

He says he has audited the hiring and training of officers, trying to make sure they are hiring the right people for the department.

“I expect our staff to serve with professionalism and an unwavering commitment to honesty and integrity,” said Chief Ramsay.  “There is no place for unethical behavior on this police department,” he added.

Both Mackey and Zajkowsi are expected to be in court next month.

Categories: Local KSN News

Documents on four cases revolving around illegal gambling in Wichita released in the past week

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 19:30

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) –  Two men have pleaded guilty in connection to a case of illegal gambling, as more charges were filed against three former law enforcement officials.

In just the last week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office has released information on four cases, all revolving around illegal gambling in Wichita.

It is an investigation that dates back to more than six years ago. One document shows the federal investigation going back to November of 2011.

It says investigators have been conducting an investigation into an illegal gambling business with ties to public corruption in Wichita, Kansas.

Last Friday, KSN received documents related to Danny Chapman and Daven Flax. Both men pleaded guilty to operating an illegal gambling business and fraudulent tax charges.

It says between January 2013 to February 10, 2017, both Chapman and Flax directed or owned an illegal gambling operation.

That operation, according to the documents, had a gross revenue of $2,000 in any single day.

The documents show a long list of items were seized from Chapman over the course of a month back in 2017. This includes cars, jewelry and more than $1.6 million worth of funds.

An indictment unsealed Thursday charges Brock Wedman, Michael Zajkowski and Bruce Mackey with obstruction of law enforcement. Wedman was also charged with lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Michael Zajkowski and Bruce Mackey are both former WPD police officers with more than 20 years of experience with the department.

The documents accuse both Zajkowski and Mackey of using WPD resources, at the request of Wedman and other co-conspirators, to try and locate a suspected undercover officer who was investigating illegal gambling.

Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay addressed the media about the federal investigation involving two of his former officers Friday morning.

“That federal investigation goes all the way back to 2014, when it began and our department had significant involvement in it and all that was laid out yesterday by the US Attorney’s Office and in the indictment,” said Chief Ramsay.

Police say that one of the officers left the department in April of 2017.  The other resigned on Thursday.

A retired highway patrol trooper, Michael Fredericksen, of Derby, has also been charged with two counts of making false statements to FBI investigators.

The indictment says he was filmed taking part in an illegal cash poker game in 2014, when he was still a trooper and lied to federal agents about being at that poker game.

The four men charged in the cases unsealed Thursday are expected to be in court next month.

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Autopsy: Tom Petty died of accidental drug overdose

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 18:55

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Tom Petty’s family says his death last year was due to an accidental drug overdose.

His wife and daughter released the results of Petty’s autopsy via a statement Friday on his Facebook page. Dana and Adria Petty say they got the results from the coroner’s office earlier in the day that the overdose was due to a variety of medications.

The statement was posted moments before the Los Angeles coroner’s office issued its official findings, which confirmed that Petty had a mix of prescription painkillers, sedatives and an antidepressant. Among the medications found in his system were fentanyl and oxycodone.

Petty suffered from emphysema, a fractured hip and knee problems that caused him pain, the family said, but he was still committed to touring.

He had just wrapped up a tour a few days before he died in October at age 66.

The family said Petty had been prescribed various pain medications for his multitude of issues, including fentanyl patches, and “we feel confident that this was, as the coroner found, an unfortunate accident.”

They added: “As a family we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives. Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications.”

Painkillers and sedatives are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S., but both drug types slow users’ heart rate and breathing. The Food and Drug Administration has warned against mixing them because the combination can lead to breathing problems, coma and death.

Petty was a rock superstar with the persona of an everyman who drew upon the Byrds, Beatles and other bands he worshipped as a boy in Gainesville, Florida. He produced classics that include “Free Fallin’,” ”Refugee” and “American Girl.” He and his longtime band the Heartbreakers had recently completed a 40th-anniversary tour, one he hinted would be their last.

The shaggy-haired blond rose to success in the 1970s and went on to sell more than 80 million records. He was loved for his melodic hard rock, nasally vocals and down-to-earth style. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which inducted Petty and the Heartbreakers in 2002, praised them as “durable, resourceful, hard-working, likable and unpretentious.”


Associated Press Writers Leanne Italie and Stephanie Nano contributed to this report.

Categories: Local KSN News

New tax bill brings major changes to rural hospitals

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 18:32

LAKIN, Kan. (KSNW) – With all the coverage of the tax bill that passed late last year, one aspect that may have been overlooked was its effect on rural hospitals. Administrators tell KSN the tax law will make it harder to keep the doors open.

The new tax law removed the individual mandate from the Affordable Care Act. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, that means 13 million fewer people will be insured.

“We’re heading in the wrong direction if we’re disincentivizing people to carry health insurance,” said Ben Anderson, Kearny County Hospital CEO.

Anderson says they see an additional 2,000 patients every year.

“As we take care of more and more people, as some of those people are uninsured, we are analyzing what is the sustainability of this growth, and we’re having to choose profitable areas for growth,” explained Anderson.

One of those unprofitable areas is obstetrics. But cutting that would have a big impact on southwest Kansas.

“We delivered 327 babies last year from over a dozen Kansas counties, and we’re continuing to deliver more babies from these counties, primarily because we see it as the right thing to do,” said Anderson.

According to the National Rural Health Association, rural hospitals are projected to lose $2.8 billion in Medicare reimbursements over 10 years as a result of the Budget Control Act of 2011.

Congressman Roger Marshall says the issue for rural hospitals isn’t the number of people insured but the reimbursement rate for hospitals.

“Certainly the ACA has made it very hard on folks in rural hospitals,” said Marshall. “And I think number one is they’ve got decreased reimbursements for Medicare patients, and that decreased reimbursements for Medicare patients disproportionate affects rural hospitals who have more Medicare patients.”

Anderson says as resources tighten on rural hospitals, local taxes tend to rise to keep the doors open.

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Kansas lawmakers working to toughen swatting penalties

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 17:47

TOPEKA (CAPITOL BUREAU) — After a deadly swatting phone call led to the death of an innocent man, lawmakers are looking to prevent it from happening again.

Two Wichita lawmakers on different sides of the aisle are working together to toughen the penalties against someone who makes a swatting call. Swatting is when a person makes a false report to get a SWAT team go to a certain location.

On December 28, Wichita police shot and killed unarmed Andrew Finch. Police said they received a fake report about a shooting and kidnapping at the home where Finch was staying.

Tyler Barriss, 25, has been charged with making a false alarm, interfering with police, and involuntary manslaughter.

“His actions directly led to an innocent man losing his life and he needs to face consequences for his actions,” said Republican State Rep. John Whitmer.

According to current state law, a person who makes a swatting call, that doesn’t result in death, only faces a misdemeanor or low-level felony charge. Which is why Whitmer and Democratic State Representative John Carmichael are working together to tighten the penalties.

“We need to make sure that people understand that this is not a joke, it’s not a trick, it’s not a stunt. It’s a serious crime and you will go to jail if you do it,” explained Carmichael.

The Wichita swatting incident isn’t the only one in the state. Last week police in Overland Park were called to a home after receiving a swatting call, although in that case no one was hurt.

“We want to make sure this is a serious felony and will result in someone going to jail,” said Carmichael.

The bill is still in its drafting phase. Whitmer and Carmichael are working with law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office to get the bill right so when it goes to the floor it’ll pass with no problems.

“We obviously can’t do anything for what’s happened in the past, but if we can prevent this in the future than we’ve done our jobs,” said Whitmer.

We did reach out to the attorney for Finch’s family, but did not hear back. Last week, civil rights attorney Andrew Stroth told KSN News, the family would like criminal charges brought against the police officer who pulled the trigger. The name of the officer involved has not been released.

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Garden City DACA recipient faces uncertain future

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 17:35

As Congress negotiates a government funding bill, democrats are demanding a permanent fix for DACA recipients.

John Wiebe is one of 800,000 “Dreamers.” His family brought him to southwest Kansas from Mexico when he was three and received Deferred Action from Deportation (DACA) in 2015.

Wiebe says it changed his life.

“I wanted to pursue my education and hopefully pursue the medical field for as long as I can remember, but all of that was never an option to me before I was granted this DACA status,” said Wiebe.

Wiebe is still not eligible for most scholarships, so he works three jobs to pay for school.

But the anxiety set in back in September when President Trump said he would end the program.

“By the time my current DACA status expires will be when I just finished school, so now I’ll have a nursing degree, but I won’t be able to work as a nurse,” explained Wiebe.

However he says he’s optimistic that Congress and the president will agree on a long-term solution. But Congressman Marshall says any agreement needs to include funding for a wall and other border security measures.

“The president has asked for 18 billion dollars to make our country more secure,” said Kansas Representative Roger Marshall. “To stop smuggling drugs across the border. I can’t go speak for the 41 democrat senators, what’s keeping them from getting on board with our plan.”

“I try not to think about it, but the reality of it is I could look at deportation to a country that I really, besides my birth certificate, I have no connections to. I don’t speak the main language there,” added Wiebe. “This really is what I feel is my home country and where I want to spend the rest of my life.”

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Teachman’s Take: Weekend Winter Storm

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 16:41

Although it’s been a bit on the breezy side, it has been a BEAUTIFUL day!  Temps soared into the upper 50s in Wichita with lots of 60s and 70s in western Kansas.

BIG changes are on the way for the weekend.  While we’ll get another warm and windy day on Saturday with highs in the 60s, Sunday’s the day to monitor closely for travel troubles.

A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for parts of NW Kansas and SW Nebraska, shaded in blue.  This is where the majority of the snow will fall.  Wind will also be a concern, causing blowing and drifting.

Sunday late in the morning, I”m expect a light wintry mix to change to all snow in NW Kansas first.

As we go through the day, the snow will spread to the east/northeast.  While wintry weather takes over the northern half of the state, SW Kansas will then start to get into the action by afternoon as rain changes to all snow.

Unfortunately, Wichita isn’t on the receiving end of much moisture.  Drizzle is possible along with spotty rain showers Saturday night and into Sunday.

Sunday night and into Monday morning, the snow will track to the north.  Wichita may see some flurries or a light dusting, but the majority of the snow will fall along and north of I-70.

Be sure to join me tonight on KSN News for the latest snowfall totals and a look at how much temperatures will drop behind this system.  – Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman

Categories: Local KSN News

CDC reports 10 more pediatric flu deaths

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 16:04

A report by the Centers for Disease Control shows influenza is now widespread in every state except Hawaii.

Almost 75,000 cases have been reported so far. That doesn’t include patients who treat their symptoms at home and never seek medical care.

The CDC blames the flu for killing 30 children this season. Adult deaths are not tracked, but estimated to be higher than usual.

Experts say one of the things making the disease so dangerous is the number of Americans who also suffer from conditions like diabetes, hypertension and COPD.

Children under two, pregnant women, people with chronic health problems and the elderly are advised to seek care when they experience flu symptoms.

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WPD looking for missing adult last seen at Towne West mall

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 14:44

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department is asking for the public’s help in finding a missing adult.

According to WPD officer Charley Davidson, Blake Payne was last seen at Towne West Square mall on January 18 at 3:45 p.m.

Payne is 22 years old. He is 5’9″ tall and weighs 130 pounds. He has brown shoulder-length hair, hazel eyes and a goatee. He was last seen wearing a white and black sweatshirt, red shirt, blue jeans and black and white checkered Vans shoes.

Payne was last seen driving a 2008 red Chevrolet Malibu with an Oklahoma temporary tag.

Blake has been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and is Type 1 diabetic. It is unclear if Blake left his home with any of his medication.

If you have any information regarding Payne’s whereabouts, please contact 911.

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Rudd Foundation announces new Kansas college scholarship program

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 13:51

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Rudd Foundation has created a new college scholarship program to help Kansas residents who qualify for a Pell Grant to attend either Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University or Wichita State University.

The Rudd Scholarship will cover any remaining cost of attendance after all other aid, grants, and scholarships are applied to a student’s account. Cost of attendance includes tuition and fees, books and supplies, and room and board. By removing financial barriers to a college education, chosen scholars are expected to achieve a high level of excellence on campus in preparing themselves to be leaders in their profession and in their communities after graduation.

The Rudd Scholarship is a Kansas program for Kansas residents and gives preference to first generation and underrepresented students. “This scholarship program is firmly rooted in the Midwestern values of humility, grit, hard work, and integrity that make Kansas and its people great,” said Peter Najera, President of the Rudd Foundation, “We are searching for some real go-getters.”

The scholarship aspires to help Kansas minds stay in Kansas. “We hope graduates of this program will go on to build new businesses here in Kansas, teach in our schools, lead in our communities and achieve excellence in all that they do right here in Kansas,” said Najera. In addition to carrying a full load of classes towards their degree, scholars will also participate in many developmental activities outside the classroom, network with leaders in their future professions, build strong relationships among themselves, and serve to help the next generation of scholars through an active and connected alumni association after graduation.

“We aren’t just looking for great students; we’re searching for those with a real commitment and drive to achieve something larger,” said Najera, “Our Scholars will appreciate that this isn’t just a grant to pay bills, but a lifetime opportunity to achieve their potential if they continue to work hard.”

Students must apply online at www.ruddfoundation.org/college-scholarships where you can also learn more about the eligibility requirements and selection criteria.

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Kansas unemployment rate drops in December to 3.4 percent

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:45

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas saw its unemployment rate drop slightly in December to 3.4 percent and reach its lowest point in nearly 18 years.

The state Department of Labor reported Friday that last month’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was lower than both the 3.5 percent reported in November and the 4.3 percent rate in December 2016. The state’s unemployment rate has remained below 4 percent since March 2017.

According to department statistics, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate last dropped to 3.4 percent in February 2000.

The department also said the number of people working in private-sector, nonfarm jobs also grew by about 8,000 in December from December 2016. The increase was 0.7 percent.

Labor Secretary Lana Gordon said hours worked and real earnings also increased over the years as employers sought workers.

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Attorney: Teen sexually assaulted at Kansas military school

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:32

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – An attorney says a 15-year-old Texas boy was sexually assaulted this week by two other students at a Kansas military school.

The family’s attorney, Dan Zmijewski, said Friday the assault at St. John’s Military School allegedly occurred Tuesday night in a dormitory room. The boy was taken to the hospital the following day for an examination.

He says police arrested two boys and referred the case to the Saline County District Attorney’s Office for possible aggravated sodomy charges. A first court appearance is planned for Monday.

St. John’s President William Clark did not respond to a request for comment.

The prosecutor’s office did not immediately respond to a message.

The Episcopalian boarding school also faces a pending lawsuit from a Tennessee father over the 2014 sexual assault of his son.

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Western’s Weather Wrap: Spring Now, Weekend Snow

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:29

Temperatures are warming nicely again today, already in the 40s and 50s as of 11 AM.

And our highs today will be unusual for January – in the 50s and 60s, with even a few low 70s to the west! Get outside and enjoy this spring-like weather while it lasts…

Believe it or not, tomorrow will be EVEN warmer, but then our next cold front drops us down to the 40s by Monday, though that is still above normal and not bad compared to what we’ve seen this past week!

We’re also tracking the potential for some light rain in Wichita on Sunday, with snow then moving in from the northwest into the night. Wichita may see some flurries, but the snow accumulations will stick to northern and western Kansas – with the highest amounts along the Kansas/Nebraska line. Reduced visibility and slick roads are likely in those areas, so be cautious Sunday and Monday!

I’ll have the latest on our potential snowfall totals, coming up on KSN News at Noon. Or you can watch my latest forecast right here: http://ksn.com/2017/03/08/weather-forecast-discussion/

Have a wonderful weekend, everybody!

~Katie the Weather Lady

Categories: Local KSN News

Kansas long-term care providers struggle financially

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:25

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Owners and advocates of long-term care providers in Kansas say they’re being squeezed financially on several fronts.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that advocates told the House Health and Human Services Committee Thursday that Kansas providers face grave financial hardships due to low reimbursement rates, backlogs in processing Medicaid applications and a recent spike in civil penalties for health and safety violations.

A survey found such facilities in the Midwest reported operating at a net loss of about 0.5 percent in 2016.

A Kansas Health Care Association representative says the financial problems long-term care facilities face also threaten state and local economies. The association represents more than 250 long-term care providers.

Republican Rep. Dan Hawkins chairs the committee. He says he’ll invite the secretary of the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services to respond to the concerns.

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Bed Bath & Beyond recalls comforters over mold concerns

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 12:22

Bed Bath & Beyond recalls 175,000 comforters over mold concerns.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said some Hudson Comforters by UGG could contain mold which poses a risk of respiratory infections for those with allergies and weak immune systems.

The comforters were sold in Bed Bath & Beyond stores nationwide and online from August through October of last year.

The recall includes comforters sold in garnet, navy, gray and oatmeal.

If you’ve bought the bedding, return it to your place of purchase for a full refund.

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6.3-magnitude earthquake shakes Mexico’s Gulf of California

Local KSN News - Fri, 01/19/2018 - 11:44

MEXICO CITY (AP) — A 6.3-magnitude earthquake struck offshore in Mexico’s Gulf of California on Friday morning, but there were no immediate reports of damage.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake was centered about 48 miles (78 kilometers) north-northeast of Loreto, in the waters between the states of Baja California Sur and Sonora.

The USGS reported that it struck at a depth of 6 miles (10 kilometers).

The area is a desert coastline dotted with small towns and fishing villages popular with U.S. tourists who park their recreational vehicles at seaside campsites.

Yolanda Vallejo, owner of Rivera del Mar RV Park in Loreto, said the quake didn’t even give her a start.

“We’ve felt similar earthquakes,” she said. “No damage. My plates didn’t even fall over.”

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