Local News

Westar, Black Hills Energy among companies planning to pass tax savings to customers

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:33

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – Black Hills Energy, Westar, and KCP&L are among the companies agreeing to pass 100 percent of the benefit from the tax cut on to their customers.

In December, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. In addition to reducing the burden for the majority of taxpayers, the legislation also lowers the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent. Since utility companies benefit directly from this rate decrease, Lt. Governor Jeff Colyer wrote to Kansas utility companies requesting they provide relief to Kansas utility consumers by sharing the savings.

“I am extremely encouraged by the response my letter has received from the Kansas utility community. Black Hills Energy, KCP&L and Westar understand, just as I do, how much energy costs affect every household in Kansas. I am pleased that they have agreed to pass these savings on to consumers,” said Lt. Governor Colyer.

In his response to Lt. Governor Colyer, Black Hills Energy General Manager, Jerry Watkins said, “Black Hills is [..] committed to working expeditiously with the Kansas Corporation Commission to develop a plan which provides customers the benefit of the corporate tax reduction in their rates.”

Mark Ruelle, President and CEO of Westar, added, “We agree with the KCC Staff and others that all these tax benefits should go to our customers,” said President and CEO of Westar Mark Ruelle.

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Western’s Weather Wrap: Quickly Warming

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 12:22

It’s been a chilly morning, but temperatures are rising quickly across the state, with some already in the 50s as of 11 AM.

And we will only be getting warmer this afternoon with highs in the 50s and 60s, lots of sunshine, and breezy southwest winds. Enjoy it!

This nice, warm weather sticks around through the weekend, but changes are on the way as our next storm system arrives on Sunday.

We’ll start out with rain showers, but this will transition to snow as colder air settles in, especially for northwestern Kansas.

And we desperately need this moisture… Our latest drought monitor shows conditions continuing to worsen, especially for southwestern Kansas.

I’ll have more on our weekend storm system and how much cooler we’ll get next week, straight ahead on KSN News at Noon! Or you can watch my latest forecast right here: http://ksn.com/2017/03/08/weather-forecast-discussion/

~Katie the Weather Lady

Categories: Local KSN News

Plan for new Kansas prison in limbo after meeting postponed

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:49

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A plan for a new state prison in Kansas is in limbo after Republican Gov. Sam Brownback postponed a meeting aimed at getting the final go-ahead from legislative leaders.

Brownback and the Legislature’s top eight leaders were scheduled to meet Thursday morning to discuss the Department of Corrections plan to have private-prison operator CoreCivic Inc. build a new prison in Lansing. The 2,400-bed facility would replace the state’s oldest and largest prison there.

Brownback postponed the meeting indefinitely just before it was to start.

His move suggests the plan doesn’t yet have enough support among legislative leaders. Under a law passed last year, five of the eight must approve for the plan to go forward.

Tennessee-based CoreCivic would lease the prison to Kansas for its first 20 years in operation.

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Fire heavily damages Derby home

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 10:42

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Fire crews in Derby battled a house fire Thursday. It happened in the 800 block of East Morningview Drive just before 9 a.m.

Crews found heavy fire on the side of one home when they arrived.

“We did have some extension to the property to the house to the east that caused some damage to the siding,” said Derby Fire Chief Brad Smith. “Now, we got that under control, and we are checking for hot spots and extension into both residents.”

Derby fire crews said all made it out of the homes safely. No word on what caused the fire or the damage estimates.

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Kansas City doesn’t make final cut for Amazon second HQ

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:52

Amazon has narrowed its hunt for a second headquarters to 20 locations, concentrated among cities in the U.S. East and Midwest. Toronto made the list as well, keeping the company’s international options open.

The online retailer said Thursday that after sorting through 238 proposals, the potential locations still include tech-strong places like Boston and New York. Other contenders include Chicago, Indianapolis, and Columbus, Ohio, in the Midwest.

Los Angeles was the only West Coast city on the list. Both Texas and Pennsylvania had two cities that made the cut: Austin, Dallas, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. In the South, Miami and Atlanta are being considered.

Officials in cities that made the short took the opportunity to further tout their cities, with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney noting “all that Philadelphia has to offer” and officials in Allegheny County, including Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto citing the region’s “world-class talent pool” and other advantages.

The other contenders: Denver, Washington D.C., Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville, Tennessee; Newark, New Jersey; Northern Virginia; and Raleigh, North Carolina.

Amazon.com Inc. said it will make a final selection sometime this year.

The company’s announcement last fall that it was looking for a second home launched a fierce competition among cities looking to lure Amazon and its promise of 50,000 new jobs and construction spending of more than $5 billion.

State and local governments played up the amenities they think make their locations the best choice for Amazon’s second headquarters. Other’s pulled off stunts to standout, such as New York, which lit the Empire State Building in Amazon orange. Some stunts didn’t work: Tucson, Arizona, which sent a 21-foot tall cactus to Seattle, did not make the list. Neither did Birmingham, Alabama, which installed giant replicas of Amazon’s Dash buttons.

The company had stipulated that it was seeking to be near a metropolitan area with more than a million people; be able to attract top technical talent; be within 45 minutes of an international airport; have direct access to mass transit; and be able to expand that headquarters to as much as 8 million square feet in the next decade.

But Amazon also made it very clear that it wanted tax breaks, grants and any other incentives.

Some state and local governments have made public the details of the financial incentives they are dangling. Boston’s offer includes $75 million for affordable housing for Amazon employees and others. Before he left office Tuesday, Republican Gov. Chris Christie approved a measure backed by Democrats to allow New Jersey to offer up to $5 billion to Amazon. Newark also proposes to give Amazon $2 billion in tax breaks, although the city has yet to release its application to the AP.

But many of the state and local governments competing for the headquarters have refused to disclose the tax breaks or other financial incentives they offered. Of the 20 finalists, 13 including New York, Chicago, and Miami declined requests from the AP to release their applications while other requests were still pending. Applications from Columbus, Denver, Los Angeles, and Raleigh, North Carolina, were submitted by outside groups not typically bound by the same disclosure rules.

Nearly 20 cities and states across the U.S. that originally applied turned down requests from The Associated Press to detail the promises they’ve made. Boston published its application online, while Philadelphia released its application to the AP, but with information on proposed tax incentives redacted.

Several say they don’t want their competitors to know what they’re offering, a stance that open-government advocates criticized.

Amazon plans to remain in its sprawling Seattle headquarters and the second home base will be “a full equal” to it, founder and CEO Jeff Bezos had said.

The extra space will help the rapidly-growing company, which It had nearly 542,000 employees at the end of September, a 77 percent jump from the year before. Some of that growth came from Amazon’s nearly $14 billion acquisition last year of natural foods grocer Whole Foods and its 89,000 employees.

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Report says grandson of K-State Head Coach Bill Snyder has died

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:14

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – Matthew Snyder, the grandson of K-State football head coach Bill Snyder and son of assistant coach Sean Snyder, died Wednesday at age 22 according to the Manhattan Mercury.

The paper reports personnel responded to a medical call Wednesday afternoon in the 3300 block of Claflin Avenue in Manhattan.

The K-State Athletics Department had no comment when reached late Wednesday night.

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Derby Public Schools sets bond election for renovations

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:11

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Derby Public Schools is set to have a bond election on February 20.

Residents in the school district will be presented with three different bond questions.

The first bond question will focus on safety and security, efficiency and growth, deferred maintenance, and curriculum and program equity. These areas were identified by a community committee as major concerns in the school district.

The bond will address safety and security by adding storm shelters to Park Hill, Tanglewood and Wineteer Elementary Schools.

Sedgwick County Emergency Management has looked at Derby schools and made recommendations on what spaces are safest to use as a shelter, but officials said the areas aren’t safe enough.

“When you have buildings that have over 500 students and staff members, using the bathrooms like we’ve been taught to use when we were kids in school, you can’t get all those folks in the bathroom,” said operations director Joe Dessenberger. “Somebody is left out in a less protected area.”

The district also wants to add intruder locks to classrooms.

“We’ve had incidents that have occurred in our neighborhoods, around our schools or at our schools, where we’ve had to go into lockdown,” said Dessenberger.

If an intruder was to come into a school, teachers would have to exit their classroom to lock the door from the outside, putting students in harm’s way.

“The intruder locks would provide for a panic mechanism on the inside of the door that would allow the teacher to quickly lock down the room,” Dessenberger said.

Another area of focus is maintenance, such as: boiler replacements, HVAC upgrades and plumbing system replacements.

According to school officials, many of the schools were built in the 1950’s and are starting to show their age.

“We fight steam leaks everyday during the heating season,” said Dessenberger. “We see spikes in classroom temperatures of up to 100 degrees because the unit ventilators in the rooms are failing.”

Dessenberger added that these environmental issues cause teachers and students to lose concentration and it become a distraction.

The bond plan also includes closing Pleasantview Elementary.

Other areas the bond hopes to address include:

  • Efficiency and growth: Officials want to build a new elementary in the Stone Creek area
  • Curriculum and program equity: The district wants to add more physical education space at Derby High School and address the limited student resource spaces.

This plan would cost around $114 million.

The other two bond questions ask residents to vote on the renovation of the Panthers Athletics Center and upgrades of athletic facilities.

The total bond amount is around $124 million.

Officials said Bond Question 1 must pass, in order for the other two bond questions to pass.

If all three bonds are approved, the average homeowner would pay an extra $118 a year in property taxes.

The district is holding an information session today at 10 a.m. at the Educational Support Center, and January 23 at 7 p.m. at Derby High School.

For more information on the bond election, visit the website.

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Women’s march on ICT to promote voting

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:04

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Last year’s Women’s March on the Air Capital made headlines for its participation, with hundreds of women marching for equality. This year, the name of the game is voting.

Saturday will be the second annual Women’s March with nine female speakers and dozens of volunteers, working to get everyone registered and informed to vote.

“Making sure they know where they polling place is, making sure they have proper ID to vote, making sure they know who their candidates are, which usually makes people more passionate about voting when they know who their candidates are,” organizer Brandi Calvert said Wednesday.

Calvert cites last year’s success in getting women to the polls: high woman voter turnout in the 2017 special election.

“We make up the majority of the population so if we’re voting, we’re creating the change,” Calvert said.

The group is making signs at Fusion restaurant on Douglas tonight from 5-9pm.

If anyone is interested in participating, all you have to do is show up on Saturday. Calvert said the event is for anyone who believes in equal rights for women.

“We will create a ripple effect for the rest of the country. So however our elections go in November of 2018, will be a ripple effect for the rest
of the country. Get out and vote and make it a positive one,” Calvert said.

The march begins at City Hall, 455 N. Main at 11am on Saturday.

Categories: Local KSN News

Kellogg and I-235 will be closed again this weekend

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 06:59

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Kellogg and I-235 will be closed again this weekend starting on Friday night at 5 p.m. All lanes will be closed by 7 p.m.

Crews continue to install eight steel bridge beams for the northbound I-235 ramp bridge to westbound Kellogg.

Detours will be used during the closure. Traffic should return by Monday at 6 a.m.

Detours will use the diamond ramps of the interchange
• WB US 54 Detour: onto NB I-235 to Central. Turn left at Central then left onto SB I-235. Exit to WB US 54.
• EB US 54 Detour: onto SB I-235 to K-42. Turn left at K-42 then left onto NB I-235. Exit to EB US 54.
• NB I-235 Detour: onto EB US 54 to Edwards St. Turn left on Edwards then left onto WB US 54. Exit to NB I-235.
• SB I-235 Detour: onto WB US 54 to Dugan St. Use Dugan turnaround onto EB US 54. Exit to SB I-235

An additional weekend closure at the interchange is planned for the weekend beginning February 2.

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Oklahoma politicians stunned by discovery of possible spying

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 06:47

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A Republican lawmaker’s discovery of a magnetic box containing a high-tech tracking device affixed to the bottom of his truck is being investigated by Oklahoma officials, who also revealed that four other GOP legislators have reported concerns they were being followed.

The mysterious discovery has stunned Oklahoma’s political class, and raised questions about who would spy on lawmakers.

“This is outrageous behavior and very reckless and foolish, and it could lead to somebody getting hurt,” Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater said Wednesday, adding that the tactics could lead to felony stalking charges. “They (Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation) are investigating it, and I’m going to be very aggressive in the prosecution of these matters if in fact they have the evidence to prove the case.”

Rep. Mark McBride said he discovered the device on his truck on Dec. 4 and reported it to local police, who forwarded the investigation to the state agency, which has jurisdiction over threats against public officials.

McBride initially told police he suspected someone connected to the wind industry may be responsible. A longtime supporter of oil and gas and a frequent critic of the wind industry, McBride told a Moore police officer he was writing legislation that could negatively affect Oklahoma wind farms.

“It’s very unsettling,” said McBride, who also has filed a lawsuit seeking to identify whoever is responsible for placing the device on his truck. “I stopped hanging out with some of my friends and narrowed down what I did.”

Telephone and email messages left Wednesday with Oklahoma Wind Coalition officials were not immediately returned.

Prater says four other GOP legislators approached him last year with concerns that they were being followed, but no charges were filed in connection with those reports.

Prater said whether a case rises to the level of criminal charges depends on a number of factors, including why someone is tracking or following a legislator.

“When you’re talking about lobbyists and certain industries that potentially may have the opportunity to experience a windfall or lose a lot of money based on legislation, money drives a lot of activity, good and bad, and that’s what’s going on here,” Prater said. “When people see that their business or livelihood may be helped or hurt by some certain legislation there, they potentially have the motivation to do something a bit nefarious.”

In 2014, Prater pursued criminal charges of blackmail and computer crimes against a tea party activist who sent an intimidating email to a state senator. The activist was found guilty and fined, but the conviction was later thrown out on appeal.

“We know this kind of thing occurs a lot more than it is ever reported to us,” Prater said.


Follow Sean Murphy at http://www.twitter.com/apseanmurphy

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Gas line break causes evacuation in northwest Wichita neighborhood

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 06:13

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A gas line break in northwest Wichita is causing evacuations.

Around 3:30 a.m., a car ran into the side of a house in the 11000 block West 17th Street North.

The car dislodged a gas line and caused the leak.

An evacuation order is in place and authorities are shutting down the area.

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Laura’s Look: On cruise control for now

Local KSN News - Thu, 01/18/2018 - 03:15

Good Thursday morning! Temperatures on the rise heading into the weekend.

A delightful winter day is in store. Under sun drenched skies temperatures to climb into the 50s and 60s.

By tonight, winds relax and temperatures fall back into the 20s under mostly clear skies for everyone.

The spring fling continues into the weekend with highs soaring into the 60s! Make sure to make the best of it because cooler changes are coming by Sunday.

Our next storm system is on the way for the second half of the weekend. Light snow to spread across northwest Kansas late in the morning on Sunday.

Still for Wichita we’re expecting to stay in liquid form although there may be a moment where we see a burst of snow in the mix. Most of the winter weather appears to stay to the north! This system clears out heading in the new week. Temperatures don’t tumble back too hard behind this next cold front. In fact, above normal temperatures are expected for the next seven days.

I’ll have your forecast coming up on Kansas Today from 4:30-7. – Laura Bannon

Categories: Local KSN News

Local donut shops sells edible Tide Pods in light of viral online challenge

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 23:00

WICHITA, Kans. (KSNW) – A local donut chain used the latest social media stunt, called the Tide Pod challenge, to promote a new kind of donut Wednesday.

The challenge involves people, mostly teenagers, eating the laundry capsules on video for others to see on social media.

Hurts Donut joined in on the craze by selling the donut version of the laundry capsule.

“We just kind of put out the post as just a funny alternative to a more serious topic,” said Trista Patterson, owner of Hurts Donut. “We see so much heavy stuff everyday that we’re just putting a little lighter approach on a serious subject.”

It was a pretty popular decision according to some people who decided to test it out.

“I got the Tide Pod donut because-I got it because it’s a popular trend on Facebook and Twitter,” said Clayton Cheatum, a Wichita resident. “I was like well you know I’m on a diet right now but you know i don’t think Tide Pods got carbs in them, might as well try it.”

Some even made the trip to the popular donut spot to take some home as a gift.

“My 16-year-old son has been making all these jokes about Tide Pods and showing me all the memes with them and he saw that they had them here with the donuts and so I told him I would buy him some,” said Melissa Beshirs, a Haysville resident.

But, not all were amused by the imitation capsules.

On a Facebook post by the donut shop announcing the Tide Pod donut, one person commented “I’m sad people think this is so funny. So what if there is a size difference. This is bad. Children are going to see these and associate them with Tide Pods.”

Another said “This is uncalled for.”

But, Patterson assures people she is not encouraging people to eat the actual capsules.

“Hurts Donut company in general has never really claimed to be a serious business anyways so we’re just kind of poking fun at it and saying you know putting out our own PSA saying eat this not that,” she said.

Patterson said they sold more than 50 of the Tide Pod donuts Wednesday, the only day they were selling them.

KSN reached out to Tide. They did not address the donuts, but did say in part “laundry pacs are made to clean clothes. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance, even if meant as a joke.”

Categories: Local KSN News

1 dead, 1 critically injured in one-vehicle crash

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 22:26

DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – UPDATE: Authorities say one person has died following a single-vehicle crash in Derby Wednesday night.

10:26 p.m.

Two people are in critical condition after a single-vehicle crash in Derby.

According to authorities, the crash happened at about 9:59 near E. 79th St. S. and S. 127th St. E. in Derby.

Authorities say the crash left two people pinned after a vehicle crashed into a tree. Emergency responders are on the scene.

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Highway hazard: Log flies through windshield

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 21:51

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – An Oklahoma couple is still in shock after they survived a piece of firewood that flew through their windshield on the highway.

It happened on northbound I-35 in Oklahoma City.

The piece of wood was left sitting in the left lane when the car in front of them ran over it, flipping it back towards their Ford hatchback.

“It just kind of flipped up and then hit the hood, and then bounced through the windshield,” said Miranda Huff, who was in the passenger seat while her husband, Ian, drove.

The wood got lodged in the windshield, and crushed Ian’s hand as he gripped the steering wheel.

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Judge denies request to boost number of Trump voters in jury

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 21:45

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A judge says three Kansas men accused of plotting to bomb apartments housing Somali refugees have no legal basis to request that prospective jurors come from counties where more residents voted for President Donald Trump.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren issued the decision Wednesday.

The men are accused of targeting an apartment complex in Garden City, in rural western Kansas. They’re being tried at the closest federal courthouse about 220 miles (354 kilometers) away in Wichita, where trials pull prospective jurors from surrounding, more urban counties.

The men argue the practice is discriminatory because it excludes western Kansas counties with more rural and conservative residents. But the judge ruled that those demographic differences aren’t legally recognizable.

Prosecutors argued defense attorneys were trying to pick a jury pool based on ideology.

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Is it news? Ansari story triggers media ethics debate

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 20:41

What makes a private sexual encounter newsworthy? A little-known website raised that very question after publishing an unidentified woman’s vivid account of comedian Aziz Ansari’s sexual advances while the two were on a date.

The story on Babe.net threw a wrench into the #MeToo movement, with some feminist writers dismissing the incident as a bad date that should have remained private. Others welcomed the piece for spurring a debate over deeper cultural attitudes that normalize aggressive behavior toward women.

Media ethics experts say it’s not easy to determine what constitutes a legitimate story of sexual misconduct in the midst of a social movement that has emboldened people to speak out on subjects once considered taboo.

“What takes this out of the realm of a really bad date and into the realm of something that is publicly significant?” asked Ed Wasserman, dean of the journalism school at the University of California, Berkeley. “It’s a little borderline.”

The story, which appeared Saturday, offers a detailed 3,000-word account of a night out between Ansari and a 23-year-old Brooklyn photographer that ended at the comedian’s home. The woman told the site that the actor repeatedly initiated sexual activity despite what she later called “clear non-verbal cues” indicating her discomfort and lack of interest. She also reportedly told Ansari that she didn’t want to “feel forced” in the encounter.

The woman told Babe.net that she eventually decided the incident was a sexual assault and said she was angered when she saw Ansari wearing a “Time’s Up” pin at the Golden Globe Awards. The pin referred to a movement against sexual misconduct in Hollywood.

The website published screenshots of what it said were text messages between the two the next day. The woman told Ansari the encounter had made her uncomfortable; he texted back with an apology. The story was initially published with no comment from Ansari because, the website said, his representatives did not get back to them by its deadline.

Many major news organizations reacted cautiously. The Associated Press and other media outlets did not report on the story until Ansari issued a public statement addressing the claim the next day. The actor, who stars on the Netflix hit “Master of None,” acknowledged that he apologized to a woman last year when she told him about her discomfort during a sexual encounter in his apartment that he believed to be consensual.

Feminist writers, other actors and media commentators were left to debate the public value of an anonymous tale about a confusing encounter at a time when more women are speaking publicly about sexual assault.

Some prominent women, including Whoopi Goldberg and Ashleigh Banfield, a host on the CNN spinoff HLN, concluded that the story didn’t describe sexual misconduct of any kind and lacked newsworthiness. The feminist writer Jill Filipovic, in a column for The Guardian , said the piece touched on the need for more stories about “how pervasive power imbalances benefit men and make sex worse for women.” But she said Babe.net squandered that opportunity by failing to “tell this particularly story with the care it called for” and muddying the line between sexual assault and misogynistic behavior.

The story’s reporter and editors at Babe.net, which is less than two years old and says it has 3 million readers, have publicly defended their news judgment. “We stand by our story,” said site editor Amanda Ross. Babe.net is published by Tab Media, a company that has received funding from Rupert Murdoch.

Helen Benedict, a Columbia journalism professor, said the story’s one-sided, anonymous account was difficult to judge. But that, she said, encapsulates the tension between the public’s need to know and the obligation of the media to protect sources, particularly people who say they are victims of sexual assault and request anonymity.

Benedict said the story didn’t sufficiently press the woman on her motivations and took a flippant approach as to whether the incident constituted sexual assault. “I don’t feel that the reporters asked enough about what the goal was,” she said. “What does she want?”

Ryan Thomas, an assistant professor at the Missouri School of Journalism, said the piece lacked the rigor of other stories that used multiple sources to establish a clear pattern of abuse by prominent men like Harvey Weinstein and Louis C.K.

“Most of the journalism has been very methodical in identifying a catalog of incidents to build a picture of a pattern of behavior,” Thomas said. By contrast, he said, the Babe.net story “focuses on a single case against a named individual by an anonymous individual,” thus raising questions about its newsworthiness and the care with which it was reported.

Few have called into question the veracity of the report, particularly because Ansari himself did not dispute it.

Wasserman, the Berkeley professor, said he finds it difficult to criticize the piece for crossing any lines of journalistic integrity. After wrestling with the question of whether the article addressed an issue of legitimate public concern, he said, he “reluctantly” sided with Babe.net.

“Is this news? It really does come out of an area of activity that is normally considered to be pretty private,” he said. “But on balance, the entire question of sexual misconduct arises from interactions that we should consider private.”

Categories: Local KSN News

Kansas Humane Society sets new save rate record

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 19:37

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Humane Society (KHS) has reached a 93 percent save rate, the highest in the shelter’s history.

“This was our best year in the history of our organization,” said Kansas Humane Society President and CEO Mark Eby. “We promised people 9 years ago that we would do this and we have now achieved our goal which was to get above 90 percent. Now, we want to maintain it.”

Eby said of the 12,209 animals that came to KHS in 2017, 8,973 were adopted, 1,701 were transferred to rescues and 418 pets were reunited with their owners, for a total of 11,092 animals who found homes. Eby said the statistics are a direct reflection of the community’s continued support.

“We have to have people come in here and we need to be the first place people come and check when they want a new companion animal and people do that. We have seen our numbers go up for the number of people who visit us, the number of people who come in and look around,” Eby said.

KHS also performed nearly 3,000 low-cost, donor subsidized spay and neuter surgeries to help address pet overpopulation. Eby added the shelter cut its euthanization rate in half in 2017, going from 1,500 animals to about 800 animals.

Eby said he’s proud of the success at KHS and he is dedicated to continuing a high level of service for the City of Wichita.

“We want to become a community resource for people, let them come see all of that hings that we do for pets in the community,” he said.

Kansas Humane Society by the Numbers ·         93% overall save rate ·         15,862 total animals in our care ·         12,209 live animal intakes ·         11,092 live animal releases o   8,973 adoptions o   1,701 animals transferred to rescue o   418 pets reunited with their owners ·         2,784 donor subsidized spay/neuters
Categories: Local KSN News

Kansas lawmakers attend sexual harassment training in Topeka

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 19:26

TOPEKA (CAPITOL BUREAU) – Following a number of sexual harassment claims across the country, lawmakers at the Kansas Capitol are taking training to prevent it from happening there.

About 80 House members filled the old Supreme Court Room early Wednesday morning for an hour of sexual harassment training.

“It’s important for us to provide an environment that is safe,” said House Speaker Ron Ryckman, R-Olathe.

The presentation put on by the YWCA of Topeka, explained what qualifies as sexual harassment, and stressed the importance of consent.

“I think that the hope was to sort of take the blinders off a little and let folks know how really significant this is,” explained Michelle McCormick, the program director for YWCA.

Of the 125-member house, about 65 Republicans were in attendance, and about 10 Democrats. However, House Democrats previously held a sexual harassment training before the session began which about 30 attended.

“There are different things that maybe people have done that today they maybe recognize that oh that’s sexual harassment,” said Rep. Cindy Holscher, D-Olathe.

Leadership couldn’t make the training mandatory without changing the law since legislators are not considered employees, but are elected officials. Ryckman said some members had scheduling conflicts and more training would be available.

“We wanted people to be here that in their hearts and soul they want to make a difference, they want to be better leaders, they want to be better citizens.” he said.

“I’m so glad so many people turned out, but we need to make this happen frequently, it’s a good reminder,” added Holscher.

Holscher explained while she’s never experienced or seen sexual harassment at the capitol, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

“I recognize that it may occur with interns and staff members because we’re talking about power structure and power hierarchy,” she said.

The capitol’s sexual harassment policy hasn’t been updated since the 90’s. Ryckman said lawmakers are working on updating the policy to include annual training.

The Senate will hold its sexual harassment training on Thursday afternoon.

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Categories: Local KSN News

Lawmakers ask if states or feds should alert about missiles

Local KSN News - Wed, 01/17/2018 - 18:54

HONOLULU (AP) — Nearly 40 terrifying minutes passed between the time Hawaii officials fired off a bogus alert about an incoming missile over the weekend and the moment the notice was canceled.

The state flailed to contain the situation, waiting 23 minutes to call officials with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to get approval to send a retraction.

The confusion — and panic — have raised questions about whether any state should be solely responsible for notifying the public of such an event — especially as Washington and North Korea trade insults and threats.

Hawaii is the only state in the nation with a pre-programmed alert that can be quickly sent to wireless devices if a ballistic missile is heading toward the U.S. FEMA said Hawaii did not require its approval to cancel the alert on Saturday.

U.S. Reps. Colleen Hanabusa and Tulsi Gabbard, both of Hawaii, have asked the House Armed Services Committee to hold a hearing on the issue.

They said in a letter to the committee Tuesday that it’s understandable for states to have primary jurisdiction over warnings for floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters.

“However, when it comes to matters of national security, including whether a ballistic missile has been launched against the United States, one must question whether any state emergency management agency is best suited for that role,” the letter says.

The debate comes as North Korea claims it is testing weapons that could deliver a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile to Hawaii, Guam and even the U.S. mainland.

The two networks that were activated in Hawaii were the Wireless Emergency Alert and the Emergency Alert System , both of which use a federal system to send messages to people in certain geographic areas.

The systems can be used by state and federal agencies for weather events, natural disasters, law enforcement notifications and alerts issued by the president.

Signal carriers allow people to block alerts from state and law enforcement agencies, but not those issued by the president.

“The decision to send a national alert directly to the public rests with the president,” FEMA spokeswoman Jenny Burke told The Associated Press in an email.

FEMA has the ability to send alerts to targeted audiences but has not yet taken on that responsibility, said Daniel Gonzales, a senior scientist at RAND Corp. who was contracted by Homeland Security to study the Wireless Emergency Alert.

Gonzales said under the current system, it makes sense for states to handle alerts because they may be more familiar with local needs. But he acknowledged that since no state except Hawaii has a prepared message, it could take other states as long as 30 minutes to create, enter and distribute one.

In addition, there is uncertainty about how long it takes for an alert to make its way to all cellphones since the nationwide system for mobile devices has never been tested, Gonzales said.

He said the process could add another five minutes, further cutting into the time that people have to prepare for a disaster.

Sending a national alert could cause more problems than a targeted alert, he said.

“I think you want to be careful about not causing panic everywhere,” he said.

In case of a real launch, U.S. Pacific Command would notify Hawaii state officials, who would then activate their warning systems for residents and visitors.

It is estimated that a ballistic missile would take about 20 minutes to reach Hawaii from North Korea. State officials say it would take about five minutes for the military to analyze the launch trajectory, leaving only 12 to 15 minutes of warning time for residents.

There has never been a national emergency warning sent to mobile devices, radio or television, FEMA said. The agency has conducted three tests of the national public warning system for radios and television only.

President Donald Trump did not make any public comments about the false alert on Saturday. He was at his golf club in West Palm Beach, accompanied by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

Asked about the alert on Sunday, the president said it was “a state thing.”

“I love that they took responsibility. They took total responsibility,” Trump said. “But we’re going to get involved. Their attitude and their — what they want to do, I think it’s terrific. They took responsibility. They made a mistake.”

Trump acknowledged people’s fears, saying that “part of it is that people are on edge, but maybe, eventually, we’ll solve the problem so they won’t have to be so on edge.”


Associated Press writers Darlene Superville in Washington and Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu contributed to this report.

Categories: Local KSN News