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Sheriff: Chiefs top draft pick Mahomes unharmed in robbery

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 17:25

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Rookie Kansas  CityChiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes escaped injury after being robbed outside a Texas home after attending a college baseball game, authorities said Monday in describing the holdup as random.

Mahomes and the three other people were stepping from a vehicle on a home’s driveway outside Tyler on Friday night when a suspect approached, gestured he had a handgun in his waistband and took unspecified items from the victims before speeding away, the Smith County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office said.

Deputies later arrested two suspects in the reported getaway car and recovered items taken during the holdup. Michael Pinkerton, 34, was charged with aggravated robbery, while Billy Ray Johnson, 58, was accused of two counts of possession of a controlled substance and with tampering with evidence involving one of the items taken during the holdup, sheriff’s Sgt. Darrell Coslin said.

It was not immediately clear Monday whether Pinkerton or Johnson had an attorney.

Coslin said Pinkerton “has a long criminal history and is known to us” and randomly robbed Mahomes and the others as the four returned to a residence after attending a baseball game at the University of Texas-Tyler.

“We have no reason to believe (Mahomes) was being targeted,” Coslin told The Associated Press. “This appears to have been a crime of opportunity.”

Mahomes, 21, played at Texas Tech and last month was selected by the Chiefs with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft. Kansas City sent first- and third-round picks this year and their first-round pick next year to Buffalo, climbing from the 27th overall pick to acquire the heir apparent to veteran Alex Smith.

“I can’t really get into the details,” Mahomes told the Tyler Morning Telegraph . “I’m just glad me and my friends are safe and the cops got the suspects.”

Last season, Mahomes threw for more than 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns at pass-happy Texas Tech. He already has earned gunslinger comparisons to another protege of Chiefs coach Andy Reid during his days in Green Bay — Brett Favre — and his big arm and gaudy numbers have Chiefs fans energized after years of quarterback mediocrity.

Ted Crews, the Chiefs’ vice president of communications, told media outlets that the franchise was aware of the robbery and “is thankful Patrick and everyone involved are safe because that’s what’s most important.”

Mahomes’ hometown, Whitehouse, is about 10 miles from Tyler and about 100 miles southeast of Dallas.

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More AP NFL: pro32.ap.org and twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Bret Blevins found guilty in crash that killed two Starkey clients

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 17:07
Bret Blevins (Courtesy KDOC)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Bret Blevins was found guilty Monday in a traffic crash that killed two Starkey clients in May 2016. The victims were Dusty Atterbery and Dirk MacMillan.

Sedgwick County jurors found Bret Blevins of Wichita guilty of 14 counts, including second-degree murder, involuntary manslaughter and multiple charges of aggravated battery.

Officers said Blevins was behind the wheel of an SUV when it slammed into a van carrying the Starkey residents and staff. Blevins was going 49 miles an hour and still accelerating when the crash happened. A blood test also found that Blevins was legally drunk and also tested positive for meth when the SUV hit the van.

During his trial, Blevins testified he wasn’t driving the SUV at the time of the crash.

The judge said he will not allow Blevins out on bond before sentencing next month. Blevins is being held in the Sedgwick County Jail.

KSN’s Craig Andres is following the trial in court. Look for his updates on Twitter. 

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Design council votes to support composite material for Cowtown’s boardwalks

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 15:58

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Design Council voted 5-3 to recommend composite material to replace Cowtown’s boardwalks.

The boardwalk has to be removed for drainage improvements. Composite material has a 40 year life span. Brazilian ash wood has a 20 year span.

The city manager asked the Design Council to take a look at two options.

“I think a lot of the members would like real wood, but the extended lifespan of the composite material kind of over won that one for the long-term maintenance of the museum,” said Phil Meyer, Wichita Design Council Chairman.

“The boardwalk has to be removed for drainage improvements. We currently have standing water on the site,” said John D’Angelo, Director of Arts and Cultural Services for the City of Wichita. “As part of that replacement, we also have a requirement to make the site ADA accessible and being ADA accessible will require us using some concrete, which again, we try to be sensitive to making it look the least imposing as we can.”

This is the second group to vote in favor of the composite material, even though some Cowtown re-enactors had argued for keeping real wood.

The recommendation will go to the city council who will have the final say.

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White House: Cyberattack has not affected US government

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 15:51

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s homeland security adviser said Monday that the malware that has infected 300,000 computers in 150 countries is “in the wild,” but so far has not infiltrated U.S. government systems.

Tom Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said three variants of the malware have been discovered and the U.S. government was closely monitoring the situation with officials in Britain.

“Overall, the U.S. infection rate has been lower than many parts of the world, but we may still see significant impacts in additional networks as these malware attacks morph and change,” Bossert told reporters at the White House. “We had a small number of affected parties in the U.S., including FedEx. As of today, no federal systems are affected.”

Computers across the world were locked up Friday and users’ files held for ransom when dozens of countries were hit in a cyber-extortion attack that targeted hospitals, companies and government agencies. Cybersecurity experts say the unknown hackers who launched the “ransomware” attacks used a hole in Microsoft software that was discovered by the National Security Agency and exposed when NSA documents were leaked online.

The Department of Homeland Security is taking the lead on the investigation in the United States.

The Cyber Threat Intelligence Integration Center is keeping the U.S. government informed about classified information concerning the investigation, he said.

If Americans follow the patching information issued by the FBI, Microsoft and the Homeland Security Department, they will be protected from the malware and the variants, Bossert said.

“While it would be satisfying to hold accountable those responsible for this hack — something that we are working on quite seriously — the worm is in the wild, so to speak at this point, and patching is the most important message as a result,” he said. “Despite appearing to be criminal activity intended to raise money, it appears that less than $70,000 has been paid in ransoms and we are not aware of payments that have led to any data recovery.”

Neither the FBI or NSA would comment Monday.

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Father: Pledge who died after hazing treated like ‘roadkill’

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 14:04

NEW YORK (AP) — A fraternity pledge who was ordered to guzzle alcohol during a hazing ritual and twice fell down a flight of stairs before his death was treated like “roadkill,” his father said Monday, days after criminal charges were filed against 18 of his son’s Penn State fraternity brothers.

Jim Piazza, the father of 19-year-old engineering student Timothy Piazza, said the Beta Theta Pi fraternity members were to blame for his son’s February death.

“They planned this night out,” Piazza said. “They had all the intent to feed these young men lethal doses of alcohol — to bring them to alcohol poisoning levels. This was premeditated. They killed our son.”

The family of the college sophomore from Lebanon, New Jersey, told The Associated Press that they are considering a lawsuit but are focused now on the criminal case against their son’s fraternity brothers.

Eight face the most serious charge of aggravated assault, a felony that carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years in prison. Timothy Piazza consumed what prosecutors said was a life-threatening amount of alcohol —his blood-alcohol content reached nearly .40 percent, doctors estimated — during a hazing ritual on Feb. 2 in State College, Pennsylvania, and he died two days later.

Piazza’s parents said they would likely attend the court proceedings. A preliminary hearing that had been scheduled for this week has been pushed back to June.

Piazza’s mother, Evelyn, said her grief has worsened the more she’s learned about what happened to her son.

“My mind used to go to dark places before. Now I’m imagining more horrors so it’s really hard to fall asleep,” she said.

Jim Piazza said the fraternity brothers “tortured” their son.

“They held him captive and tortured him. They treated him like roadkill,” he said. “Knowing that your son suffered the way he did over such a long period of time, and died a very slow and very painful death, frankly, it’s haunting.”

A grand jury said security camera footage captured events inside the house that night, including pledges being ordered to guzzle alcohol after the ceremony. Piazza appeared to become inebriated and fell face-first down a flight of basement steps.

Fraternity brothers made half-hearted and even counterproductive efforts to help him, and when one member strongly advocated for summoning help, he was shoved into a wall and told to leave, the report said.

Piazza apparently fell down the steps again early the next morning but was not discovered until about 10 a.m. Someone called 911 some 40 minutes later. Piazza later died as a result of severe head injuries.

The Piazzas said no one representing the university or the fraternity attended their son’s wake or funeral services. Jim Piazza called their absence “shameful.” He also noted that none of the students involved has been expelled.

“I am glad they have taken action so far on some things, but they have a long way to go,” he said of the school.

The university had no immediate response.

The Piazzas hope to push Penn State and universities across the nation to adopt changes — and improve enforcement of existing policies — to prevent future deaths. Among them, they suggested a ban on alcohol at fraternity events and a strict ban on hazing.

“This can’t happen to anyone else,” Jim Pizza said. “Tim Piazza is our son, but he represents so much more than that now. He represents everybody’s son and daughter that is thinking about going to college, thinking about participating in Greek life.”

Neither parent would say whether the fraternity members involved should have to serve jail time.

“That’s for a jury to decide,” Jim Piazza said. He added, “What is a life worth? Our son lost the rest of his life. He lost the ability to graduate, to get married, to have kids, to be his brother’s best man.”

Evelyn Piazza said: “He gets to sit in a mausoleum. Everybody else gets to continue living their lives. The world goes on for everybody else.”

___

Associated Press writer Mark Scolforo in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, contributed to this report.

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Central Kansas man dies from virulent form of meningitis

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 13:09

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Health officials are investigating a central Kansas man’s death from a virulent form of meningitis.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said in a news release that laboratory tests have confirmed that the death was the result of meningococcal meningitis, an acute infection of the bloodstream caused by a bacteria known as Neisseria meningitides.

Health officials are working to identify people exposed to the man, who was from Barton County. The bacteria can be spread through close contact – such as sharing a drinking glass, kissing or living in close quarters – with an infected person.

Symptoms include fever, intense headache and stiff neck.

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2 killed in southeast Kansas head-on crash

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 12:56

WILSON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Highway Patrol said two people were killed in a head-on crash Sunday. It happened on U.S. 400 around 11:30 p.m.

The patrol said a 1998 Honda Accord went left of center and struck a 2004 Honda CR-V.

The drivers of both vehicles were pronounced dead. They have been identified as 34-year-old Bryan M. Adkins of Dearing and 41-year-old Heather R. Wiegert of Fall River.

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Man killed after crashing stolen motorcycle

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:54

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police said a 27-year-old man was killed Saturday when he crashed a stolen motorcycle. It happened around 7 p.m. in the 800 block of West Lincoln.

Police said a Sedgwick County Sheriff’s deputy tried to stop the stolen motorcycle. The driver refused to stop, and the deputy lost sight of the motorcycle at Lincoln and McLean. The deputy continued west and found the bike had crashed in the 800 block of West Lincoln.

The driver of the motorcycle, identified as Bryce Reed of Wichita, died at the scene.

The accident is the eleventh fatal accident in the city this year.

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Silver Alert issued for Bel Aire man

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:10

BEL AIRE, Kan. (KSNW) – The Bel Aire Police Department has issued a Silver Alert for an 85-year-old man.

William E. Gustin suffers from dementia and Pre-Alzheimer’s. He was last seen on Sunday wearing blue jeans with paint stains, white tennis shoes, a red and blue shirt, blue wind breaker, and Edward Jones baseball cap.

He is possibly driving a 2008 Gold Lexus E35 4 door with Kansas tags EIEIEIO.

If you have seen Gustin please call 911 or the Bel Aire Police Department 316-744-6000.

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Dog killed in intentionally set fire in Topeka

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 10:19

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Authorities say an arson fire has killed a dog and caused an estimated $18,000 in damage to a Topeka house.

Fire officials said a passerby notified an officer about the fire late Saturday while police were investigating a report of a shooting in which a vehicle was struck by shotgun pellets.

The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that besides the dog that was killed, another was treated for smoke inhalation. The fire was contained to the house where it started.

A preliminary investigation indicates the blaze was intentionally set. The fire started in the first-floor living area in the southwest area of the home. It wasn’t immediately known if the fire was related to the shooting.

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Kansas House approves bill to tax some services

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:22

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas legislators have advanced a proposal to raise a modest amount of new revenue by imposing the state’s sales tax on some services while promising a future cut in the tax on groceries.

The House approved the measure Monday on a 78-42 vote. It goes next to the Senate.

The bill would raise about $115 million over two years. The state faces projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019 and passing the measure would lessen the need for other tax increases.

The tax bill would impose the 6.5 percent sales tax on a few services including towing and pet boarding. It would cut the tax on groceries to 5.5 percent in July 2020.

The tax vote as a House committee considered a bill increasing spending on public schools.

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Kansas Legislature’s session hits 91st day with 100 budgeted

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 09:21

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Legislature’s annual session has reached its 91st day with leaders having budgeted for 100 days.

The session’s 90th day was Sunday. That’s considered the traditional length.

But the Kansas Constitution allows lawmakers to extend sessions past 90 days in even-numbered years and doesn’t limit them in odd-numbered years.

Session lengths have varied widely over the past decade. A 73-day session last year followed a record 114-day session in 2015.

Only six sessions have lasted 100 days or longer, starting with 1990’s 100 days. Sessions were 103 days in 1991; 100 in 1992; 107 in 2002 and 100 in 2012 before 2015’s record.

The 100th day this year is May 24.

Lawmakers this year must close budget shortfalls and respond to a Kansas Supreme Court ruling on education funding.

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Moustakas has HR, 4 RBIs, Royals finish sweep of Orioles

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 08:38

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Mike Moustakas came through with a big homer and thought of his late mother, just like he does every time he goes deep.

Moustakas homered and drove in four runs to help the Kansas City Royals rally from five runs down to beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-8 Sunday.

“A day like today makes me miss my mom even more,” Moustakas said of his mother Connie, who passed way on Aug. 9, 2015. “Mother’s Day is special, but I miss my mom every day. It doesn’t take a day like today to miss her.

“Anytime I hit a home run, I think about my mom and always point up to her. In order to do that, is a pretty cool feeling. Today was no different, just a tie game and thinking about my mom pretty much all the time, so nothing really changes.”

Jorge Soler and Drew Butera also homered for the Royals. Soler’s 464-foot shot to center leading off the seventh was the longest by a Kansas City player this season.

The Royals have won four straight, matching a season high, and six of seven since moving Alcides Escobar to the leadoff spot.

Moustakas homered off Kevin Gausman with Butera and Escobar aboard in a five-run fourth when the Royals sent 11 men to the plate. Gausman was pulled after retiring only 10 of the 21 batters he faced, allowing five runs and nine hits with two walks.

“It’s frustrating,” Gausman said. “I think they started eliminating my curveball early in the game, when I get in those situations where I have to throw a strike, the hitters pretty much have a good idea what they’re going to get. And that’s the biggest thing. They didn’t really miss any pitches that were in the strike zone and even some pitches that were out of the strike zone, they went out there and got it.”

The Royals scored two runs, one unearned, in the fifth, which included Alex Gordon scoring from second on Manny Machado’s throwing error after Escobar’s bunt.

The Orioles jumped on Royals starter Chris Young for five runs in 3 2/3 innings. Young gave up home run to Chris Davis to leadoff the second and a two-run shot in a four-run fourth to Caleb Joseph to finish his day. Ryan Flaherty contributed a two-run double in the fourth.

“The ones that really hurt were the Flaherty and the Joseph, back-to-back,” Young said. “Sliders I didn’t execute. If I make a good pitch to Flaherty, I’d like to think I’d get an out there and keep me at 1-nothing at that point and this win is a lot easier. I didn’t execute and it cost us.”

In two starts this season and 13 starts last year, Young is 1-8 with an 8.74 ERA, allowing 55 runs on 80 hits, including 29 home runs, in 56 2/3 innings.

Davis reached base five times on his homer, RBI single and three walks.

Matt Strahm (1-2), the second of seven Royals pitchers, picked up the victory. Kelvin Herrera, pitching in three consecutive days, finished up for his eighth save in nine chances. After Joseph’s RBI double in the ninth, Herrera struck out Seth Smith and got Jonathan Schoop on a fly ball to strand runners at second and third to end the game.

Richard Bleier (0-1) took the loss as the Baltimore bullpen gave up four runs.

“For the most part our guys have done a tremendous job of holding it there and kind of stopping the bleeding,” Joseph said. “We just weren’t able to bandage it up today.”

The nine runs and 14 hits were season-highs for the Royals.

SORIA’S AMAZING CATCH

Joakim Soria came sprinting off the mound to catch Mark Trumbo’s foul pop up that catcher Butera lost in the sun. “He keeps telling me he wants to catch pop ups and I told him, here’s your chance,” Butera said. “I gave it to him. I thought it was a foul ball straight back and I didn’t see it. The next thing I see Jack running by and said, ‘Thank God, he’s athletic.'”

ORIOLES RECALL BLEIR

The Orioles recalled Bleier from Triple-A Norfolk, where he had a 0.61 ERA, allowing one run in 14 2/3 innings with 15 strikeouts and no walks. Bleier had a 1.96 ERA in 23 relief appearances last season for the Yankees. The Orioles optioned LHP Vidal Nuno, who had a 6.75 ERA in nine bullpen outings, to the Tide.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: CF Adam Jones was not in the lineup for the first time this season. “He’s pretty banged up,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s got a sore hip. He’s diving, different stuff.” With a day off Monday, this will give Jones two days to rest.

Royals: LF Alex Gordon, who left the game Friday with right groin tightness and sat out Saturday, was back in the Royals’ lineup. Gordon went 0 for 4, dropping his average to .153.

UP NEXT

Orioles: LHP Wade Miley will start the series opener Tuesday at Detroit after a day off Monday.

Royals: RHP Jason Hammel, who allowed a career-matching 13 hits in his previous start, draws the starting assignment Tuesday against the Yankees.

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Comey’s firing, health care fuel voters’ anger with GOP

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 08:32

MCHENRY, Ill. (AP) — Skeleton in hand, retired biology teacher Jeannie Scown delivered a message to her Republican congressman at his office northwest of Chicago.

“Killed by Trumpcare Plague, May 4, 2017,” her poster read.

In a nod to House Republicans’ recent vote to gut the health care law, Scown had no intention of sparing four-term Rep. Randy Hultgren with subtlety.

“He has to understand that sick people vote, too,” Scown said, “and we are going to go get them and take them to the polls if they can’t get there themselves, because we are tired of being used.”

Americans vented similar frustrations this past week in Republican districts crucial to GOP majority control of the House, sounding off about health care and President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey. Democrats see in these displays evidence of the enthusiasm necessary for them to break the GOP’s monopoly control of Washington in next year’s midterm elections.

Republicans in some districts faced a backlash at raucous town halls over their votes for the House health care bill. There were plenty of complaints about a provision that would allow insurers to charge seriously ill people higher rates if they let their coverage lapse. Other lawmakers avoided holding forums.

Trump added to the tumult by dismissing Comey, raising questions about whether the president was trying to scuttle an FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

“He did this as Comey wanted to get closer and closer,” said Sam Weissbard of Westfield, New Jersey. A dentist who practices in Manhattan, Weissbard said he has no ill-will against his five-term congressman, Republican Leonard Lance, who voted against the health bill. Nonetheless, Weissbard will oppose Lance to send a message to the White House.

In Illinois, Scown said Trump’s move shows why “the whole administration scares many of us.” Whatever “displeases him,” she said, “he gets rid of.”

Trump maintains a hold on his core supporters — about 40 percent according to many polls — but the intensity of voters like Scown and Weissbard offer encouragement for Democrats.

The party needs to flip 24 seats to seize control of the House. Democrats’ top targets are some two dozen GOP-held seats around the country in places such as Arizona, Florida, California and Colorado where Democrat Hillary Clinton beat Trump. Of the 217 Republicans who backed the bill, 14 come from districts carried by Clinton.

The first political tests are just weeks away.

In Montana, folk singer-turned-politician Rob Quist is trying to win his state’s at-large House seat in a May 25 special election. In Georgia, Democrat Jon Ossoff has raised more than $10 million ahead of a June special election in a suburban Atlanta district last represented by Trump’s health secretary, Tom Price. But party operatives and their aligned groups are primed for an offensive even if Ossoff and Quist fall short.

Outside groups have started television and digital ads against vulnerable Republicans who voted for the bill, and liberal grassroots groups are organizing “Adopt-A-District” town halls that send Democratic House members into Republican districts where the local representative has no scheduled open forums.

One of the first sessions was Friday in Kenosha, Wisconsin, in House Speaker Paul Ryan’s district. With Ryan elsewhere in Wisconsin — public events but not open town halls — his neighboring Democratic colleague, Mark Pocan, greeted the speaker’s constituents at a union hall.

“Paul is the person who essentially drafted this health care bill,” Pocan said, ahead of the gathering. “We need to know that his constituents have every tool possible to try to influence him in a different direction.”

Defending himself, Ryan told reporters on Friday: “It’s not that I’m not doing town halls. I’m getting around to see constituents all the time. I’m doing office hours, I’m doing telephone town halls, I’m doing business interviews. I’m doing it in a way so constituents don’t go into a harassing environment.”

New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur spent five hours last Wednesday fielding intense, sometimes angry inquiries.

Vicky Van Wright, 69, who had never attended a town hall, said she was worried about Trump leading the U.S. “back to a darker time in our history,” but identified the health care bill as her driving concern. She argued it could threaten Medicaid insurance programs for her 35-year-old son with Down’s syndrome.

MacArthur told Van Wright that Republicans want to give states flexibility, not “cut” Medicaid. Van Wright remained unconvinced.

Hultgren said in a statement that the protesters who’ve gathered outside his office are “getting overly dramatic” about the impact of the plan.

In California, about 800 people attended a town hall without Rep. Mimi Walters in Orange County. Demonstrators wearing hospital gowns and wielding crutches visited one of Rep. Darrell Issa’s district offices.

In 15-term Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s nearby district, Patricia Hilaiel-Miller is the kind of voter at-risk Republicans must win over, despite any misgivings over Trump or health care.

A registered Democrat, Hilaiel-Miller, praises Rohrabcher as “proactive.” But the 60-year-old said she and her husband, who is self-employed, benefit from the law and she’s unsure about potential changes.

“The whole thing is a joke,” she said. “I’m just going to move to France.”

___

Barrow reported from Atlanta. Associated Press writers Michael Catalini in New Jersey, Amy Taxin in California and Scott Bauer in Wisconsin contributed to this report.

___

Follow Barrow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP and Burnett at https://twitter.com/sara_burnett.

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Pedestrian critically injured in Reno County

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 07:41

RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A man was struck in the middle of K-96 early Monday in Reno County.

The Reno County Sheriff’s Office says they were called around 2 a.m. to an area about one mile west of Haven on K-96.

They found a man in the middle of the road. A motorist said they did not see the man and attempted to swerve from hitting him.

A portion of the highway was closed but has since reopened.

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Log in, look out: Cyber chaos may grow at workweek’s start

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 06:42

LONDON (AP) — Employees booting up computers at work Monday could see red as they discover they’re victims of a global “ransomware” cyberattack that has created chaos in 150 countries and could wreak even greater havoc as more malicious variations appear.

As a loose global network of cybersecurity experts fought the ransomware hackers, officials and experts on Sunday urged organizations and companies to update older Microsoft operating systems immediately to ensure they aren’t vulnerable to a more powerful version of the software — or to future versions that can’t be stopped.

The initial attack, known as “WannaCry,” paralyzed computers that run Britain’s hospital network, Germany’s national railway and scores of other companies and government agencies worldwide in what was believed to be the biggest online extortion scheme so far.

Microsoft blamed the U.S. government for “stockpiling” software code that was used by unknown hackers to launch the attacks. The hackers exploited software code from the National Security Agency that leaked online.

The company’s top lawyer said the government should report weaknesses they discover to software companies rather than seek to exploit them.

“An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” attorney Brad Smith wrote on Microsoft’s blog.

New variants of the rapidly replicating worm were discovered Sunday and one did not include the so-called kill switch that allowed researchers to interrupt its spread Friday by diverting it to a dead end on the internet.

Ryan Kalember, senior vice president at Proofpoint Inc. which helped stop its spread, said the version without a kill switch was able to spread but was benign because it contained a flaw that wouldn’t allow it to take over a computer and demand ransom to unlock files. However, he said it’s only a matter of time before a malevolent version exists.

“I still expect another to pop up and be fully operational,” Kalember said. “We haven’t fully dodged this bullet at all until we’re patched against the vulnerability itself.”

The attack held users hostage by freezing their computers, popping up a red screen with the words, “Oops, your files have been encrypted!” and demanding money through online bitcoin payment — $300 at first, rising to $600 before it destroys files hours later.

The ransomware attack was particularly malicious, because if just one person in an organization clicked on an infected attachment or bad link, all the computers in a network would be infected, said Vikram Thakur, technical director of Symantec Security Response.

“That’s what makes this more troubling than ransomware was a week ago,” Thakur said.

It hit 200,000 victims across the world since Friday and is seen as an “escalating threat,” said Rob Wainwright, the head of Europol, Europe’s policing agency.

“The numbers are still going up,” Wainwright said. “We’ve seen that the slowdown of the infection rate over Friday night, after a temporary fix around it, has now been overcome by a second variation the criminals have released.”

The effects were felt around the globe, disrupting computers that run factories, banks, government agencies and transport systems in nations as diverse as Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, Spain, India and the U.S. Britain’s National Health Service was hit hard, while Russia’s Interior Ministry and companies including Spain’s Telefonica, FedEx Corp. in the U.S. and French carmaker Renault all reported disruptions.

Chinese media reported that more than 29,000 institutions in the country had been hit, with universities and other educational entities the hardest hit, along with railway services and retailers. Japanese broadcaster NTV reported 600 companies in that country had been hit, and automaker Nissan and the Hitachi conglomerate said they were addressing the problem at their units that were affected.

The full extent of the attack won’t become fully clear until people return to their workplaces Monday, for the first time after the attacks. Many may click infected email attachments or bad links and spread the virus further.

“It’s this constant battle,” said Ryan O’Leary, vice president of WhiteHat Security’s threat research center. “The bad guys are always one step ahead.”

The White House held emergency meetings Friday and Saturday to assess the global cyber threat, a White House official said Sunday. No details were disclosed. The official was not authorized to discuss the private meetings by name and requested anonymity.

It was too early to say who was behind the onslaught, which struck 100,000 organizations, and what their motivation was, aside from the obvious demand for money. So far, not many people have paid the ransom demanded by the malware, Europol spokesman Jan Op Gen Oorth told The Associated Press.

Researchers who helped prevent the spread of the malware and cybersecurity firms worked around the clock during the weekend to monitor the situation and install a software patch to block the worm from infecting computers in corporations across the U.S., Europe and Asia.

“Right now, just about every IT department has been working all weekend rolling this out,” said Dan Wire, spokesman at Fireeye Security.

Businesses, government agencies and other organizations were urged to quickly implement a patch released by Microsoft Corp. The ransomware exploits older versions of Microsoft’s operating system software, such as Windows XP.

Installing the patch is one way to secure computers against the virus. The other is to disable a type of software that connects computers to printers and faxes, which the virus exploits, O’Leary added.

Microsoft distributed a patch two months ago that could have forestalled much of the attack, but in many organizations it was likely lost among the blizzard of updates and patches that large corporations and governments strain to manage.

“It’s one of those things, in a perfect world, if people were up to date on the patches, this wouldn’t be a problem,” O’Leary said. “But there are so many things to patch. The patch lists can be ginormous. It can be tough to tell which patch is important, until it is too late.”

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Rugaber reported from Washington. AP writers Brian Melley in Los Angeles, Catherine Lucey in Washington, Allen G. Breed in Raleigh, North Carolina, and AP Technology Writer Anick Jesdanun in New York contributed to this report.

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Wichita food bank opens in time for summer demand

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 06:37

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – After two years of planning, fundraising and renovations, the new United Methodist Open Door food distribution center is open to the public.

The new facility located at 2130 21st St. in Wichita officially opened Tuesday, April 25, but tonight, the organization will host an open house for the donors who made the opening possible.

Open Door Open House will start at 4 p.m. and go through 6:30 p.m.

It took a $2.75 million capital campaign to turn what was formerly a Cessna Aviation training facility into the new food distribution center that is necessary to keep up with demand, according to Jeremy Kindy, development director for United Methodist Open Door.

“The two facilities we had were on north Mosley. They were older and very well-worn buildings,” Kindy said. “We had been in there for over 30 years. We had worn out the facilities and it was time to get us into a more sustainable facility that we could use long term for the community.”

United Methodist Open Door serves about 400 food boxes each week, Kindy said. Those boxes go to people in the community who have a residence but live in poverty.

While the winter months tend to see a high volume of people in need of service, the summer months see another round of needs from the community, Kindy said.

“When school gets out we will see an upturn as well because families will start not having free breakfast and lunch programs,” he said. “So they will start looking for more food options as well for their kids.”

As a result, the opening of the new distribution center couldn’t come at a better time.

“I’m particularly proud of the way in which the community embraced this project,” Kindy said. “We had a lot of donors across various businesses, individuals, and I think the community came together to make this facility a reality.”

Donations are accepted on site from 9 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, click here.

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‘Deadwood’ actor Powers Boothe dies at 68

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 06:36

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Powers Boothe, the character actor known for his villain roles in TV’s “Deadwood,” and in the movies “Tombstone,” ”Sin City” and “The Avengers,” has died. He was 68.

Boothe’s publicist said he died of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles on Sunday.

Fellow actor Beau Bridges tweeted the news and called him “a dear friend, great actor, devoted father and husband.”

Boothe won an Emmy in 1980 for playing cult leader Jim Jones in the TV movie “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones.” The ceremony was held amid an actors strike, and Boothe was the only acting winner to show up for his award.

“This is either the most courageous moment of my career or the stupidest,” he quipped after accepting the prize.

He went on to play other memorable antagonists, including ruthless saloon owner Cy Tolliver in “Deadwood,” the gunman Curly Bill Brocius in “Tombstone” and a corrupt senator in “Sin City.” More recently he appeared as Gideon Malick in 2012’s “The Avengers” and ABC’s “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”

Peter MacNicol, who acted alongside Boothe on Fox’s “24,” tweeted Monday that Boothe was a great, old school actor whose every word on camera “sounded like a first time utterance.”

Born to a farming family in the west Texas town of Snyder, Boothe eventually left for New York to pursue an acting career. He told The Associated Press in 1981 that he made ends meet at first by working in a Broadway restaurant and eventually found theater roles, but his family was always ready to welcome him back.

“They kept telling me, ‘Come home and we’ll have a place for you on the farm,'” he said.

A private service will be held in his native Texas.

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This story has been corrected to reflect the accurate spelling of the actor’s last name in the headline.

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KSN Threat Tracker for Monday, May 15, 2017

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 06:32

6:00AM Warm and windy this afternoon, It’s starting to feel a little like summer.

5:00AM We’re in for a really warm and windy afternoon. We’ll start off in the mid 60s and with partly cloudy skies and pretty gusty S winds all afternoon we’ll warm into the 80s by lunch time and top off in the upper 80s to low 90s through the afternoon. Join us on Kansas Today this morning because we’re talking about a return of storms, some of those could be on the severe side.

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North Korea: New long-range missile can carry heavy nuke

Mon, 05/15/2017 - 06:24

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea on Monday boasted of a successful weekend launch of a new type of “medium long-range” ballistic rocket that can carry a heavy nuclear warhead. Outsiders also saw a significant technological jump, with the test-fire apparently flying higher and for a longer time period than any other such previous missile.

Amid condemnation in Seoul, Tokyo, Washington and Moscow, a jubilant North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised more nuclear and missile tests and warned that his country’s weapons could strike the U.S. mainland and Pacific holdings.

North Korean propaganda must be considered with wariness — Pyongyang has threatened for decades to reduce Seoul to a “sea of fire,” for instance — but Monday’s claim, if confirmed, would mark another big advance toward the North’s goal of fielding a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the U.S. mainland. Some experts, including officials in Tokyo, estimate that Sunday’s launch successfully tested a new type of missile, potentially the longest in North Korea’s arsenal.

The test is also an immediate challenge to South Korea’s new president, Moon Jae-in, a liberal elected last week who expressed a desire to reach out to North Korea. Pyongyang’s aggressive push to boost its weapons program also makes it one of the Trump administration’s most urgent foreign policy worries, though Washington has struggled to settle on a policy.

North Korea’s official Korean Central News Agency called the missile a “new ground-to-ground medium long-range strategic ballistic rocket,” and said the “Hwasong-12” was “capable of carrying a large, heavy nuclear warhead.”

Kim witnessed the test and “hugged officials in the field of rocket research, saying that they worked hard to achieve a great thing,” according to KCNA.

The rocket, “newly designed in a Korean-style,” flew 787 kilometers (490 miles) and reached a maximum altitude of 2,111 kilometers (1,310 miles), the North said, and “verified the homing feature of the warhead under the worst re-entry situation and accurate performance of detonation system.”

South Korea’s Defense Ministry said more analysis is needed to verify the North’s claim on the rocket’s technological features. Spokesman Moon Sang Gyun said it’s still unlikely that North Korea has re-entry technology, which would return a warhead safely back into the atmosphere.

Japanese officials said Sunday that the missile flew for half an hour and reached an unusually high altitude before landing in the Sea of Japan.

Several South Korean analysts, including Lee Illwoo, a Seoul-based commentator on military issues, said the missile flew higher and for a longer period than any other the North has ever test-fired. North Korea has also launched satellites into orbit on long-range rockets that share some of the same technology as missiles.

North Korea is not thought to be able yet to make a nuclear warhead small enough to mount on a long-range missile, though some outside analysts think it can arm shorter-range missiles with warheads. Each new nuclear and longer-range missile test is part of the North’s attempt to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile.

Kim said North Korea would stage more nuclear and missile tests in order to perfect nuclear bombs needed to deal with U.S. “nuclear blackmail.”

State media paraphrased North Korea’s leader as saying that “the most perfect weapon systems in the world will never become the eternal exclusive property of the U.S.,” warning that “the U.S. should not … disregard or misjudge the reality that its mainland and Pacific operation region are in (North Korea’s) sighting range for strike.”

The launch complicates the new South Korean president’s plan to talk to the North, and came as U.S., Japanese and European navies gather for joint war games in the Pacific.

“The president expressed deep regret over the fact that this reckless provocation … occurred just days after a new government was launched in South Korea,” senior presidential secretary Yoon Young-chan said. “The president said we are leaving open the possibility of dialogue with North Korea, but we should sternly deal with a provocation to prevent North Korea from miscalculating.”

Moon, South Korea’s first liberal leader in nearly a decade, said as he took his oath of office last week that he’d be willing to visit North Korea if the circumstances were right.

In Seoul, some citizens expressed frustration.

Kim Do-hoon, 31, said that South Korea, while keeping the “door open for conversation” with the North, should also “show a stern attitude at some level.”

“As South Korea’s diplomatic situation matures, North Korea should also show a more mature attitude, not a childish one, and contribute to (establishing a better) diplomatic relationship,” said Jin Hyo-seon, 33, a painter.

The U.N. Security Council will hold closed consultations about the launch on Tuesday afternoon, according to the U.N. Mission for Uruguay, which holds the council presidency this month.

The U.S. ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, said on ABC television that the United States has been working well with China, Pyongyang’s closest ally, and raised the possibility of new sanctions against North Korea, including on oil imports.

The Security Council has adopted six increasingly tougher sanctions resolutions against North Korea.

President Donald Trump’s administration has called North Korean ballistic and nuclear efforts unacceptable, but it has swung between threats of military action and offers to talk as it formulates a policy.

While Trump has said he’d be “honored” to talk with leader Kim under favorable conditions, Haley seemed to rule out the possibility. “Having a missile test is not the way to sit down with the president, because he’s absolutely not going to do it,” she told ABC.

The U.S. Pacific Command said Sunday’s test flight “is not consistent with an intercontinental ballistic missile.”

David Wright, co-director of the Global Security Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said the missile could have a range of 4,500 kilometers (about 2,800 miles) if flown on a standard, instead of lofted, trajectory — considerably longer than North Korea’s current missiles. He said Sunday’s launch — the seventh such firing by North Korea this year — may have been of a new mobile, two-stage liquid-fueled missile North Korea displayed in a huge April 15 military parade.

The White House, in a statement, said that North Korea has been “a flagrant menace for far too long.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin condemned the missile launch, telling reporters during a visit to China that “there’s nothing good about” it.

The Russian defense ministry said the missile landed several hundred kilometers away from the city of Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East, but Putin said it “didn’t present a threat” to his country.

The launch came as troops from the U.S., Japan and two European nations gather near Guam for drills that are partly a message to North Korea. The USS Carl Vinson, an aircraft supercarrier, is also engaging with South Korean navy ships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, according to Seoul’s Defense Ministry.

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Associated Press writer Hyung-jin Kim contributed to this report.

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