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Updated: 1 hour 17 min ago

Kansas politicians, gun store owners weigh in on bump stocks

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 22:58

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Law enforcement officials say 12 of the rifles the gunman had in his Las Vegas hotel room were modified with bump stocks.

A bump stock replaces a gun’s standard stock, the part that’s held against the shoulder.

The new stock allows the gun to slide back and forth freely, causing the rifle to rapidly fire.

Bump stocks are not banned in the United States, but, there’s talk now on both sides of the aisle to regulate them.

Today, several Republican Kansas politicians gave statements about bump stocks.

“I am appalled by the heinous act that occurred at a country music festival in Las Vegas. What we heard wasn’t the sound you hear at a gun range or the farm, it was a war zone,” said Sen. Jerry Moran.

“As the investigation continues, we need to learn more about the shooter’s use of bump stocks and I will engage the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) regarding the bureau’s 2010 and 2012 rulings on bump stocks and how these mechanisms comply with federal law. I will also continue exploring additional action Congress can take that would make certain legal firearms cannot be modified into illegal automatic weapons,” he added.

Others, like Sen. Pat Roberts said a ban of bump stocks should at least be considered.

“Congress should consider a ban on bump stock devices. Any legislation passed in the wake of a tragedy should be carefully debated by the Congress, examining how the proposal would actually prevent these types of tragedies, while also ensuring law-abiding citizens’ rights are protected,” said Sen. Roberts.

4th District Representative Ron Estes also released a statement.

“President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) issued a guidance that allowed bump stocks to be legal. I believe modifications that simulate automatic fire should be scrutinized to ensure they don’t violate The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act,” said Rep. Estes.

Gun store owners here and across the country also weighed in on the issue.

“You lose your accuracy when you shoot machine guns and you will, it’s the same thing with this so there is absolutely no advantage having it,” said Demir Demirshisar, owner of the Nashville Gun Shop.

Here in Wichita, Ryan Pennock, the owner of Thunderbirds Firearms Academy says his store at one time did sell bump stocks, but not anymore.

“We currently don’t sell any bump stocks here, we haven’t for about three years,” said Pennock.

One reason he stopped selling it, Pennock says, was because the demand for what he calls a novelty item was no longer there.

Pennock says with the ongoing discussions about bump stock expected to continue, he believes it will eventually be outlawed.

“With the NRA coming out and at least saying they are in agreement that bump stock should be at least looked at, I think that’s pretty much a concession,” said Pennock.

Pennock also mentioned that he believes the discussion about bump stocks will only be the beginning, not the end, when it comes to the topic legislation and guns.

Categories: Local KSN News

Law enforcement in small communities feel impact of KBI shortage

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 22:25

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – KSN spoke with local law enforcement agencies that say the Kansas Bureau of Investigation agent shortage is impacting their investigations.

It’s the smaller communities in Kansas that really feel the impact of the agent shortage. They say at times they need the KBI to complete large-scale criminal investigations, like homicides, child sex crimes and drug crimes.

In the city of Newton, police chief Eric Murphy says there’s been an increase in violent crimes. He says, tack on an understaffed KBI, and his department has a problem.

“We had made requests in the past because of conflict of interest cases and it just didn’t quite meet their criteria and a lot of their criteria is set because of the more serious crimes that they need to keep their time open for,” said Eric Murphy, Newton police chief.

The shortage is also being felt a little further north.

“There has been times that we’ve requested assistance from the KBI, they help us whenever they can, but because of the shortages they do have a hard time meeting all of our needs,” said Mark Brinck, Exec. Sgt & PIO for McPherson Police Department.

Brink is a former detective, and says the agency’s assistance is invaluable for when they have shortages of their own or investigations are above their capabilities. The KBI says they have twice as many open and active homicide investigations as they have agents to work them.

“Our employees are working more hours now than they have in the past we’ve seen quite a steep increase in our overtime spending as our agents really struggle to keep up with the demands of  their case work,” said Katie Whisman, Executive Officer at KBI.

Whisman says they KBI hopes to add 13 more agents by requesting an addition of just over 1.3 million dollars to their budget. Both law enforcement officials said besides money, something else may be a factor in the shortage.

“There’s been some interest lost in it, increased danger as far as being a law enforcement officer and I think that affects people wanting to be law enforcement officers as well,” said Brinck.

If you’re interested in learning more about KBI positions and requirements, click here.

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Wichita cancer patient finds new hope thanks to strangers’ creativity

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 21:45

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita cancer patient has found new hope thanks to a group of strangers and their creativity.

“It is kind of cool to see all of the people that support from different areas and it’s just really nice to see that there’s people that care out there,” said Caleb Moraine.

Caleb, 19, was like any teenager. He enjoyed playing baseball, spending time with his friends and taking part in his school’s marching band, but in 2014 Caleb’s life took a turn for the worst.

“I was doing OK. I just noticed in weights class that I was having some pain and it just kept getting worse and worse,” Caleb said.

Caleb was diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in 2014. He was 16 years old at the time.

“It’s a phone call no parent ever wants to experience. It was heartbreaking,” said Caleb’s mom Renee Moraine.

The music lover would spend months in the hospital. He would undergo radiation, chemotherapy and other forms of treatment.

“In 2014, he spent 168 days in the hospital,” Moraine said. “He has been flown up to KU eight times by Eagle Med.”

Caleb spent the year of 2015 in remission. However, two years after his initial diagnosis Caleb relapsed.

“This time the Ewing’s had come back to the other hip, the pelvis, his back and his skull. He had three tumors on his skull, but one was large and was pressing inward on his brain so they immediately did a craniotomy and they removed the left side of his skull,” Moraine said.

Caleb is now in hospice care and spends a majority of his time at his Wichita home. When he’s not at home, he said he likes to go to the Sedgwick County park and take photos. It was during a trip to the park Caleb said he found a painted rock with the saying ICT Rocks on the back.

“We looked and we thought this might be fun to do, so we started painting rocks and we have decided to start a rock garden of the kindness rocks for Caleb,” said Renee.

Renee put a call on Facebook telling people Caleb’s story and how much he enjoys finding painted rocks around town and on trips. Soon after, people from all over the nation started sending rocks and inspirational messages to Caleb.

“There have been some days the mailman has brought a box and he leaves it on the porch and he replenishes it the next day,” Moraine said. “We have rocks from Florida, Texas, California, Washington, Tennessee.”

Caleb said the rocks give him hope and strength to keep battling the cancer.

“It’s meant a lot. The rocks help brighten my day,” he said. “It helps out a lot and keeps me going each day.”

“Just to know that they did something special for him and when they put a smile on his face. it just brings joy to me,” Renee said.

Caleb has received more than 200 rocks. His mom is now working to create a garden in the family’s backyard to showcase all of them.

If you would like to send Caleb rocks, you can send them to: 1489 N Morgantown Ave Wichita, KS 67212

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Protests are against the rules at the Olympics

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 19:19

(NEXSTAR) – You’ve seen a lot of stories about athletes taking a knee during the national anthem. The first athlete to do it said it was his way to protest police brutality and racial inequality.

But recently it’s morphed into something else.

During week three of the NFL season every game had some type of protest during the national anthem. That was the players’, and in many cases owners’ responses to comments made a couple of days prior by President Donald Trump. He suggested NFL players who kneel during the national anthem be fired.

“No matter what’s going on in the world right now, politically, in the U.S. I take a lot of pride in my country,” said Mikaela Shiffrin, 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist.

“One of the best things about our country is freedom of speech,” said Jason Brown, 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist. “The fact that we’re from all different walks of life… sports is one of the things that unite us all.”

And that’s especially true when it comes to the Olympics. One country, one team.

Believe it or not, it’s actually against the rules to protest at the Olympics. It’s written in the Olympic Charter.

“I honestly believe that as Olympians, we are in a slightly different category than professional sports. We get to compete for the United States of America every four years,” said Julia Mancuso, 4-time Olympic medalist.

It’s also worth pointing out that the only time the national anthem is played at the Olympics is when an American wins a gold medal.

“How we represent our team and our country, I don’t expect that to be an issue,” said Tony Granato, Head Coach, U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team. “And I look forward to when we do win the gold medal, having to deal with a situation like that if it does happen.”

Something did happen in 1968. Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists in a black power salute. And last year in Rio, a marathon runner from Ethiopia crossed his arms and raised them above his head.

The Winter Olympics are just 126 days away. You’ll be able to watch the competition right here on KSN and NBC.

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Andover family battling pit bull ban

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 19:15

ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) – An Andover family has been given a deadline to find a new home for their pit bulls.

David Foley, his wife, and their three kids often spend time hanging out with their two pit bulls, Diesel and Abby.

“We brought these dogs into a loving home and we feel they are going to be ripped out of their living home,” says David Foley.

Their time together could be limited because in Andover pit bulls aren’t allowed. A ban that has been a city ordinance for 17 years.

Something Foley admits he has known for nearly two and a half years.

“By then we bonded with the dogs and it is difficult to get rid of a dog when you have emotionally bonded with it,” says David.

It became reality when police found out last Thursday, and told them they had until October 8 to re-home the dogs, or they would get a citation.

Still Abby and Diesel haven’t gone anywhere.

“Our dogs aren’t a threat to anybody is an understatement. Our dogs go to doggy day care here in Andover. They are socialized. They are vaccinated. They are well received in this neighborhood,” says Foley.

The police chief didn’t want to go on camera, but said while they don’t go around searching for pit bulls all day, the law is the law, and if they are informed there is a pit bull they will respond and follow city ordinance.

“A dog’s future should be determined on its behavior not its appearance,” adds Foley.

The Foley’s have started a petition. Anything they can do to have the city law changed.

Until then they have no plans on getting rid of Diesel and Abby.

“What else am I supposed to do? Hole up in my house and wait for SWAT to come. I don’t know.”

If they have not re-homed the dogs by October 8 the police chief says they will be served a citation and summons to court.

From there it will be up to the judge to decide what happens to the two dogs.

The police chief says in 2017 nine pit bulls have been requested to be re-homed, and seven times it was done willingly.

He also says out of seven dog bites in 2017 only one of them has been from a pit bull.

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‘It was almost automatic’: Off-duty cops saved Vegas victims

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 18:46

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Fred Rowbotham’s plan was to leave job stress behind with a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate his 45th birthday at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.

But when the rat-a-tat-tat of gunfire rained down, the police officer from Chula Vista, California, sprang into action as if he were in uniform. Joining him were many other off-duty police and firefighters in the terrified crowd of 20,000.

“Cops and firefighters like country music. They like a good time. They like to go to Vegas and cut loose,” Rowbotham said. After rushing his wife to safety, he turned to help others. “You have to just act sometimes.”

The rampage by a heavily armed gunman perched in the nearby Mandalay Bay casino hotel killed 58 people and left nearly 500 injured, but it could have been deadlier without the quick thinking and tactical skills of officers who took charge, treated the wounded and directed paramedics to the most urgent victims.

Without their expertise, more people could have died, said Dr. Douglas Fraser, vice chief of trauma at University Medical Center of Southern Nevada, where many of the wounded were treated.

“It was very helpful to have people who were off-duty or medically trained there,” said Fraser, noting that a victim with a major injury to an artery can die in minutes. “It’s invaluable to be able to apply direct pressure to a wound or be able to place a tourniquet instead of watching someone bleed to death.”

Rowbotham said his instincts took over. He got pelted by shrapnel and was bleeding but unfazed as he directed dozens of people to safety.

Several other officers and firefighters were also hit, including Mike Kordich, a firefighter from Rancho Cucamonga, California. He was giving CPR to a badly wounded person when he was struck in the arm by a bullet.

“I kept doing chest compressions with one arm until I noticed I was starting to bleed a lot,” Kordich recalled. He ran for cover, jumping fences, and said he could hear the bullets whizzing by.

San Diego police officer Tom McGrath said he threw himself on top of strangers to shield them. He treated the wounded, taking his shirt off to apply pressure to a woman’s bleeding chest. For another gunshot victim, he made a tourniquet from a scarf and tree branch.

“It was almost automatic to go from enjoying the concert to that person needs help,” McGrath told reporters Wednesday at San Diego police headquarters. “I think it’s something that just kind of gets ingrained in you. The switch flipped at that point.”

President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas on Wednesday and paid tribute to the first responders and doctors who rushed to save lives.

“While everyone else was crouching, police officers were standing up as targets just trying to direct people and tell them where to go,” Trump said. “Words cannot describe the bravery the whole world witnessed Sunday night.”

Bruce Ure, a deputy police chief from Seguin, Texas, shrugged off kudos and said he was just doing his job.

“I was ready to go. I knew it needed to be done because I had been trained in that,” said Ure, who spotted a man bleeding from a leg wound and dragged him to safety, then used the man’s belt to make a tourniquet.

Bullets were still raining down when he helped two other women, one shot in the back and one shot in the chest, by commandeering a vehicle and directing the driver to a nearby trauma center.

That night, Ure said, he saw America “at its finest and at its worst.”

Nearly four days after the shooting, many of the off-duty officers were back on the job and processing what they went through.

“I have been in combat, but I have never seen this type of mass casualty,” said police Sgt. Michael Gonzalez, who works in Santa Ana, California. He went to Las Vegas to teach a course on workplace violence but decided to check out the country music festival before going home.

One officer with him used a stethoscope as a tourniquet for a wounded woman, tightening it with a pen and tape, he said. Another cut strips of a first aid tent to use as tourniquets for other victims, he said.

“We go out into the street and start flagging down cars. Citizens are stopping. We put three, four, five in a truck, hit the truck — go!” he said. “And we go right back into the hot zone, (to) load two or three more.”

Gonzalez is back at work as a patrol sergeant but said he knows other officers so traumatized by the massacre they cannot return to duty yet.

Ure is one of them.

“I don’t know that you ever get over it,” he said by telephone. “I think you just try to figure out how to cope with it.”

___

Hoffner reported from Phoenix. Associated Press writers Jocelyn Gecker in San Francisco; Anita Snow, Amanda Lee Myers and Michelle Price in Las Vegas; and Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report.

Categories: Local KSN News

Expect delays, closures and traffic cones this weekend

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 18:25

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – This weekend, Wichita plays host to a variety of events that will bring thousands of people in. Expect delays, closures and alternative routes if you’re trying to get around.

Woofstock, Prairie Fire Marathon, Bootanica and the Delano Fall Fair all take place this weekend. The marathon alone will affect 300+ intersections. Kellogg and I-235 interchange will be closed beginning Friday evening and will re-open early Monday morning.

“Each direction at that interchange will have a detour, it won’t be an easy one, but it won’t be more than 5-10 minutes out of somebody’s way,” Tom Hein, spokesperson for KDOT said Thursday.

Message boards flash detours and closures to point motorists in the right direction.

“And really, if you know your way around that well, you might want to just avoid the interchange this weekend,” Hein said off Kellogg and I-235.

The Kellogg/235 project is expected to be complete in 2019. While this weekend may inconvenience drivers, Hein says, it’s part of the big picture.

“So we’re getting there, but there’s a lot of pain in the process,” Hein said.

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Main Street Kansas: Russell man creates flags, honors heroes

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 17:45

RUSSELL, Kan. (KSNW) – A Russell man, with a passion for service, is making meaningful art pieces for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice.

Russell, Kansas is a place where the birds sing loud, where the wind blows strong and Old Glory stands tall. One sheriff’s deputy, who lives in the small town, said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

“You got people, you drive by on the street and you may have only seen them once, but they want to wave at you. They want you to stop and talk and that’s a good job,” said Trevor Dinkel.

Dinkle, 28, grew up surrounded by people who serve. His dad is a retired firefighter who now works at the Ellis County Jail. His oldest brother is a fireman and his other brother is a police chief.

“This is all I’ve ever wanted to do and quite frankly it’s all I have ever known,” Dinkel said.

When Dinkel isn’t serving and protecting others, he can be found in his garage. That’s where he spends a majority of his free time creating wooden flags, memorializing those who have died in the line of duty.

“It just goes form Old Glory, thin blue, thin silver, thin green, thin white and the one I’m making today is thin red,” he said.

Dinkel methodically spray paints, brushes and burns each and every wooden slab to his liking. After the color is complete, Dinkel stencils on the stars. He then adds a memorial to the back of the flag.

“If an officer dies in the line of duty while doing a thin blue flag, that flag is built in their honor. If a firefighter dies in the line of duty while doing a thin red flag, that flag is built in their honor,” he said. “I think I can count on one hand the amount of flags that have left my garage without memorials.”

Dinkel said the memorials are a way for him to honor the men and women in uniform. He said he hopes the people who receive the flags will be reminded to pay homage to those who serve.

“I just simply do it because I enjoy doing it,” Dinkel said. “It seems like every time I get somebody who says ‘oh that looks really good,’ that makes it worth it.”

Dinkel said he started making the flags in 2017 after he went to buy one for himself and was shocked by how much they cost.

If you are interested in contacting Dinkel directly, click here.

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NRA backs new regulations on rapid-fire gun ‘bump stocks’

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 16:27

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WASHINGTON (NBC News) – Republicans are signaling they’re willing to take a modest step on gun control in the wake of the Las Vegas massacre.

They’re considering a ban on “bump fire stocks,” attachments that modify guns to fire almost like fully automatic weapons.

“What you’ll see is very discreet piece of legislation aimed at a very specific problem – not a broad gun rights or gun advocate or gun control bill,” predicts MSNBC and conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt.

The National Rifle Association is also on board, urging the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to reconsider whether bump stocks should have been legalized in the first place. In the same statement, the organization called for an expansion of right to carry laws.

KSN’s Chris Arnold will have more on the questions concerning regulations on bump stocks in the 10:00 p.m. newscast. We want to know, are you for or against a ban on bump stocks? Give your answer by taking our poll.

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Las Vegas gunman may have scoped out other music festivals

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:42

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Investigators are looking into whether gunman Stephen Paddock scoped out bigger music festivals in Las Vegas and Chicago — and perhaps Boston’s Fenway Park — before setting up his perch in a casino hotel and raining deadly fire on country music fans.

Paddock booked rooms overlooking the Lollapalooza festival in Chicago in August and the Life Is Beautiful show near the Vegas Strip in late September, according to authorities reconstructing his movements before he undertook the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

It was not clear if he contemplated massacres at those sites.

Investigators looking into Paddock also came across mention of Fenway Park, Boston police Lt. Detective Mike McCarthy said, though he provided no further details.

The details came to light as investigators struggled to figure out why the high-stakes gambler opened fire on a crowd of 22,000 Sunday night from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel casino in Las Vegas. He killed 58 people and injured nearly 500 before taking his own life.

A federal official said authorities are looking into the possibility Paddock planned additional attacks, including a car bombing. The official wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

Authorities previously disclosed Paddock had 1,600 rounds of ammunition in his car, along with fertilizer that can be used to make explosives and 50 pounds of Tannerite, a substance used in explosive rifle targets.

Investigators have been combing through his background but remain stumped as to his motive.

The profile developed so far is of a “disturbed and dangerous” man who acquired an arsenal over decades, Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said. But investigators have been frustrated to find that he lived a “secret life,” Lombardo said, “much of which will never be fully understood.”

In other developments:

— In a rare concession on gun control, the National Rifle Association announced its support Thursday for regulating “bump stocks,” attachments that can effectively convert semi-automatic rifles into fully automated weapons. Paddock apparently used such devices during the bloodbath.

— The coroner’s office in Las Vegas would not release details of its autopsy on Paddock. Some behavioral experts have wondered whether the 64-year-old Paddock suffered from some kind of brain abnormality or had a terminal illness that prompted him to lash out.

The weekend before the massacre, he rented a room through Airbnb at the 21-story Ogden condominiums in downtown Las Vegas and stayed there during a music festival below that included Chance the Rapper, Muse, Lorde and Blink-182.

“Reasons that ran through Paddock’s mind is unknown, but it was directly at the same time as Life Is Beautiful,” the sheriff said.

Police were reviewing video shot at the high-rise to check Paddock’s movements. His renting the condo was curious because as a high-roller, he could have easily gotten a free room at one of the casino hotels on the Vegas Strip.

In early August, Paddock booked a room at Chicago’s 21-story Blackstone Hotel that overlooked the park where the Lollapalooza alternative music festival was being held, though there’s no evidence he actually stayed there, a law enforcement official said Thursday.

The official was not authorized to discuss the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity after being briefed on the investigation.

The hotel confirmed a Stephen Paddock made a reservation but said he never checked in.

Lollapalooza draws hundreds of thousands of music fans every year to Grant Park.

Although Paddock killed himself as a SWAT team closed in, the sheriff said it appeared he had planned to survive and had an escape plan. Lombardo would not elaborate on the plan.

___

Associated Press writers Don Babwin and Michael Tarm in Chicago; Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston; Brian Melley in Los Angeles; and Sadie Gurman and Erica Werner in Washington contributed to this report.

___

For complete coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, click here: https://apnews.com/tag/LasVegasmassshooting .

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Affidavit released in murder of Wichita doctor

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:30
Dr. Achutha Reddy (Photo courtesy Holistic Psychiatric Services)

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – New details have been released in the murder of a Wichita doctor.

According to an affidavit released by officials, Dr. Achutha Reddy was stabbed approximately 165 times on the night of September 13. Umar Dutt has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Dr. Reddy.

The affidavit details the circumstances of the night of the murder. The first call reporting the stabbing was made around 7:20 p.m. in a medical office at 625 N. Carriage Parkway. When officers arrived they found Dr. Achutha Reddy outside of the building on the ground. Reddy had multiple stab wounds, blunt force trauma and seemed to have possibly been run over by a vehicle.

At around 7:45 p.m. a security guard at the Wichita Country Club observed a gold Toyota Camry pull into the parking lot. The security guard did not recognize the vehicle and decided to approach the vehicle to take down the license plate number. Once the security guard got to the vehicle he found the driver was slumped over the passenger seat. The security guard also noticed the driver of the car had khaki shorts on that were covered in blood.

The guard called authorities to the scene and once police arrived the driver was taken into custody. A search warrant was obtained for the vehicle Dutt was driving. Inside, a folding pocket knife was found with blood on it. The driver of the vehicle was identified as Umar Dutt.

Umar Dutt is being held on $1 million bond.

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One man dies after officer-involved shooting in Finney County

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:23

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – A man has died after an officer-involved shooting in rural Finney County. According to Garden City officials, shortly after 12:00 p.m. Thursday, the Finney County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a suspicious person in rural Finney County.

Officials said a sheriff’s deputy encountered a subject armed with a knife, who was identified as a suspect who was wanted by the Garden City Police Department on unrelated charges.

The Sheriff’s Office requested the Garden City Police Department respond to transport the subject on those charges.

“After a standoff with law enforcement, the suspect is alleged to have become increasingly aggressive and came toward the officers in a threatening manner,” said Undersheriff John Andrews. “Officers opened fire fatally striking the suspect.”

The suspect has been identified as a 29-year-old man from Garden City. Officials have not yet released the man’s name.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the suspect’s family at this time. This is an unfortunate situation,” said Garden City Police Chief Michael Utz. “We are thankful that our officers are safe.”

Two deputies and a Garden City police officer are now on paid administrative leave pending the investigation.

The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent investigation of the situation. The Garden City Police Department and Finney County Sheriff’s Office are each also conducting internal investigations.

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Victim in Butler Co. home explosion dies

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 15:09

BUTLER COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – According to authorities at Via Christi, the victim of the Butler County home explosion September 11 has died.

Authorities in Butler County said a propane leak caused the Butler County home to explode.

The explosion happened around 3:30 p.m. in the 13000 block of Southwest 155th Street, northeast of Rose Hill.

When EMS arrived, they found 67-year-old James Horn who had been burned. He was transported to St Francis Hospital and is currently recovering in the burn unit.

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Pet Project: Eric, the polydactyl cat

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 13:26

Erin Jones, from the Kansas Humane Society brought Eric, a four-month-old polydactyl, or six-toed, cat with her on Thursday.

Questions today include:

  • My kitten has developed a phobia for the basement stairs
  • My mom’s cat of 17 years recently passed away. She says she doesn’t want to go through losing another pet but I’m afraid she might fall into a bad depression without one. How long should I wait to get her a new kitty?
  • Why do I have to keep giving a heart guard pill for heart worms transmitted by mosquitos in the winter time? This smacks as a scam to me.

If you have a question for the Kansas Humane Society, send it to PetProject@ksn.com and we will try to get it on the air.

Pets available for adoption:

Follow the Kansas Humane Society on Twitter

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Winner sues Colorado lottery for millions over fixed jackpot

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 13:04

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — A decade after Colorado engineer Amir Massihzadeh hit the lottery, two state agents visited him with stunning news: He was likely the only legitimate winner of a $4.8 million jackpot he’d had to split three ways.

They told the Boulder resident that the other two people who had won the 2005 drawing were linked to a conspiracy in which a lottery insider and several cohorts had rigged drawings in several states. Now Massihzadeh, 62, is suing for the rest of the winnings that he feels should have been his.

Massihzadeh filed a lawsuit Thursday against the Colorado State Lottery, arguing he should be declared the sole winner and that the $800,000 cash prize he opted to receive should have been tripled. Accounting for 12 years of interest, he is seeking about $4 million from the lottery for what he calls a breach of contract.

It’s the latest headache for state lotteries caused by former Multi-State Lottery Association information security director Eddie Tipton, who admitted to manipulating the software they used so that he could predict winning numbers on certain days of the year. Tipton, his brother, and a friend were recently sentenced for conspiring to use this insider knowledge to buy winning tickets and collect prizes between 2005 and 2011. They fixed jackpots that paid $2.61 million to them and their associates in four states, and their scheme unraveled after Eddie Tipton was caught buying the winning ticket for a $14 million Iowa jackpot that was never paid.

Massihzadeh, who received $568,900 after taxes, argues that he’s entitled to the other two-thirds of the prize because the other tickets were purchased through Tipton’s conspiracy and should be invalid.

“Even though the Tiptons have agreed to repay the money they received from the Lottery, the Lottery has refused to honor its obligation to Mr. Massihzadeh,” his lawsuit says.

It’s the third lawsuit to claim lottery players were cheated by Tipton’s scheme.

Hundreds of thousands of people who bought tickets on dates in which Tipton could predict winning numbers are pursuing a class-action lawsuit seeking refunds, arguing those drawings weren’t truly random. A man who won a 2011 jackpot is also suing the Iowa Lottery, saying his prize should be larger because the $14 million jackpot should have rolled over.

Tipton, who is serving a 25-year prison term, built computers used by Colorado and other states to generate random numbers for drawings. Starting in 2005, he secretly installed code that directed them to use a predictable formula to select numbers on May 27, Nov. 23, and Dec. 29 for drawings that fell on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Nov. 23, 2005, Colorado drawing is the first that was fixed.

Massihzadeh had played the lottery for years, often buying a few tickets. Like most, he purchased “quick pick” tickets that computers generated for him rather than selecting numbers manually. He was “shocked and thrilled” to learn that his was one of three tickets that matched all six numbers for the Colorado Lotto, the lawsuit says.

Massihzadeh had no idea that the other two winners were part of what prosecutors have called the “ultimate 21st century inside job.”

Eddie Tipton had simulated the drawing and recorded likely winning combinations by hand. He gave a notebook with those numbers to his brother, Tommy, then a magistrate in Flatonia, Texas, who traveled to Colorado to play them. One was the winner. To hide his identity, Tommy Tipton recruited a friend to claim the prize.

The third ticket was redeemed by Cuestion de Suerte LLC, which has been linked to two Texas lawyers who are associates of Tommy Tipton.

The Tiptons have claimed that the lawyers stole the winning numbers from Tommy Tipton and played them without his knowledge. The lawyers haven’t been charged. But the Tiptons’ plea agreements state that anyone found “to have profited from the payment of lottery prizes” in Colorado may still face restitution demands.

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House passes GOP budget in key step for upcoming tax debate

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:58

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House on Thursday passed a $4.1 trillion budget plan that promises deep cuts to social programs while paving the way for a GOP drive to rewrite the tax code later this year.

The 2018 House GOP budget reprises a controversial plan to turn Medicare into a voucher-like program for future retirees as well as the party’s efforts to repeal the “Obamacare” health law. Republicans controlling the chamber have no plans to actually implement those cuts while they pursue their tax overhaul.

Instead, the nonbinding budget’s chief purpose is to set the stage for a tax overhaul plan — likely to add $1.5 trillion or so to the deficit over the coming decade — that is the party’s top political priority as well as a longtime policy dream of key leaders like Speaker Paul Ryan.

The plan, passed by a near party-line vote of 219-206, calls for more than $5 trillion in spending cuts over the coming decade, promising to slash Medicaid by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years, cutting other health care costs, and forcing huge cuts to domestic programs funded in future years by Congress.

“It’s a budget that will help grow our economy, and it’s a budget that will help rein in our debt,” said Ryan, R-Wis. “It reforms Medicaid. It strengthens Medicare.”

But Republicans are not actually planning to impose any of those cuts with follow-up legislation that would be required under Washington’s Byzantine budget rules. Instead, those GOP proposals for spending cuts are limited to nonbinding promises, and even a token 10-year, $200 billion spending cut package demanded by tea party House Republicans appears likely to be scrapped in upcoming talks with the Senate.

Instead, the motivating force behind the budget measures is the Republicans’ party-defining drive to cut corporate and individual tax rates and rid the tax code of loopholes. They promise this tax “reform” measure will put the economy in overdrive, driving economic growth to the 3 percent range, and adding a surge of new tax revenues that would help bring the budget toward balance.

Passing the measure in the House and Senate would provide key procedural help for the tax measure because it sets the stage for follow-on legislation that can’t be filibustered by Senate Democrats. Republicans used the same so-called reconciliation procedure in their failed attempt to kill “Obamacare,” including its tax surcharges on wealthy people.

“Through reconciliation, our budget specifically paves the way for pro-growth tax reform that will reduce taxes for middle class Americans and free up American businesses to grow and hire,” said Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., who chairs the House Budget Committee.

Eighteen Republicans opposed the measure, including several from high-tax states like New York and New Jersey who are concerned that the upcoming tax effort would repeal the deductions for state and local taxes.

Democrats blasted the sweeping spending cuts proposed by Republicans — more than $5 trillion over 10 years in the House plan and somewhat less in the Senate GOP measure — as an assault on middle-class families and the poor.

“Is it a statement of our values to take a half-trillion dollars out of Medicare to give a tax cut to the wealthiest people in our country?” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The House vote comes as the Senate Budget Committee is considering a companion plan that differs in key details — but would still result in deficits exceeding $400 billion after 10 years — and is set for a vote Thursday afternoon.

The House measure also assumes that the upcoming tax bill won’t add to the deficit; the Senate version, however, would permit the measure to add $1.5 trillion to the $20 trillion-plus national debt over the coming 10 years. The final version is likely to stick closely to the Senate measure in key respects, including a $1.5 trillion deficit allowance for the tax rewrite measure. A final House-Senate agreement won’t come until November, Black said.

“That is certainly going to be a very lively discussion,” Black said of House-Senate talks. “Our members are concerned about (budget) balance and they’re also concerned about the debt and deficits.”

The real-world trajectory of Washington, however, is for higher deficits as Republicans focus on tax cuts, a huge hike in the defense budget, and a growing disaster aid tally that is about to hit $45 billion.

“The train’s left the station, and if you’re a budget hawk, you were left at the station,” said Rep. Mark Sanford, R-S.C.

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This story has been corrected to change the amount in the first paragraph to $4.1 trillion, not billion.

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Dannon cuts ties with Cam Newton following ‘sexist’ comments

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:56

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Dannon, the maker of Oikos yogurt, is cutting ties with spokesman Cam Newton following what the company perceives as “sexist” comments the Carolina quarterback made to a female reporter.

Company spokesperson Michael Neuwirth released a statement Thursday saying it was “shocked and disheartened” at the former league MVP’s behavior and comments toward Jourdan Rodrigue, a Charlotte Observer reporter.

When Rodrigue asked Newton about wide receiver Devin Funchess’ route running Wednesday, Newton laughed and said, “It’s funny to hear a female talk about routes. It’s funny.”

The Dannon statement noted the company perceives Newton’s comments as “sexist and disparaging to all women. … It’s simply not ok to belittle anyone based on gender. We have shared our concerns with Cam and will no longer work with him.”

Newton hasn’t issued an apology.

The NFL released a statement on Wednesday saying that Newton’s response to the question was “just plain wrong and disrespectful to the exceptional female reporters and all journalists who cover our league.”

But it doesn’t appear there will be any punishment handed out to Newton.

“I think there are conversations going on at the club level with the appropriate people, with the Panthers,” NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart said in a conference call Thursday. “I don’t want to anticipate the league stepping in there.”

Mike Persinger, the executive sports editor of The Charlotte Observer, said Wednesday evening that Newton’s comments were “unfortunate and out of line.”

The Associated Press Sports Editors announced that it “agrees wholeheartedly that Mr. Newton’s response was out of line” and “we ask for a formal apology to Jourdan Rodrigue from Mr. Newton and the Carolina Panthers organization.”

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For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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Western’s Weather Wrap: More Rain, More Storms

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 12:34

Yet another day with scattered showers and non-severe storms across central Kansas, so you’ll want to grab the umbrella before you head out to lunch: http://ksn.com/weather/interactive-radar/

Rain is expected to move into the Wichita Metro through the afternoon, keeping us muggy and cloudy for the rest of the day.

We should pretty well quiet down this evening, but storms are expected to fire up again overnight tonight and into early tomorrow morning across central Kansas.

Our latest drought monitor was updated today, showing few changes, so all of this rain in the forecast should help us out by the time this updates next week.

An additional 1-3″ of rain is expected across Kansas through Friday night, so we will have to watch out for localized flooding.

We’re also continuing to track the potential for severe storms across central and southern Kansas, including Wichita, tomorrow evening. Damaging winds are the main concern, but large hail and isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out, so please stay weather aware on your Friday!

For more details on the timing of each round of showers and storms, be sure to watch my latest forecast right here: http://ksn.com/2017/03/08/weather-forecast-discussion/

Stay dry, everybody!

~Katie the Weather Lady

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Netflix raising US prices by 10 pct for most popular plan

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:56

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Netflix is raising the price for its most popular U.S. video streaming plan by 10 percent— a move that could boost its profits but slow the subscriber growth that drives its stock price.

The change announced Thursday affects most of Netflix’s 53 million U.S. subscribers.

WHAT GOES UP

Netflix will now charge $11 per month instead of $10 for a plan that includes HD and allows up people to simultaneously watch programs on two different internet-connected devices.

The price for another plan that includes ultra-high definition, or 4K, video, is going up by 17 percent, to $14 from $12 a month. A plan that limits subscribers to one screen at a time without high-definition will remain at $8 a month.

The increase would be the first in two years for Netflix, although it won’t seem that way for millions of subscribers. That’s because Netflix temporarily froze its rates for long-time subscribers the last two times it raised its prices, delaying the most recent increases until the second half of last year for them.

Netflix isn’t giving anyone a break this time around. It will start emailing notifications about the new prices to affected subscribers Oct. 19, giving them 30 days to accept the higher rates, switch to a cheaper plan or cancel the service.

WHY PRICES ARE RISING

The price increase are being driven by Netflix’s desire to fatten its profit margins as it spends more money to finance a critically acclaimed slate of original programming that includes shows such as “House of Cards,” ”Orange Is The New Black,” ”Stranger Things,” and “The Crown.”

Those series’ success helped Netflix land more Emmy award nominations than any TV network besides HBO this year. It’s also the main reason Netflix’s U.S. audience has nearly doubled since the February 2013 debut of “House of Cards” kicked off its expansion into original programming.

But paying for exclusive TV series and films hasn’t been cheap. Netflix expects to spend $6 billion a year alone on programming this year, and the expenses are likely to rise as it competes against streaming rivals such as Amazon, Hulu, YouTube and, potentially, Apple for the rights to future shows and movies.

Both Amazon (at $99 per year, or about $8.25 per month) and Hulu ($10 per month) now offer lower prices than Netflix.

POSSIBILITY OF BACKLASH

Netflix believes its price rate is justified by recent service improvements, such as a feature that allows people to download shows onto phones or other devices to watch them offline.

But Netflix subscribers have rebelled against price increases in the past, most notably in 2011 when the company stopped bundling its streaming service with its DVD-by-mail service, resulting in price increases of as much as 60 percent for customers who wanted both plans. Netflix lost 600,000 subscribers and its stock price plummeted by 80 percent in the subsequent backlash. The company rebounded strongly, though, propelling its stock from a split-adjusted low of $7.54 in 2012 to about $184 now.

And Netflix blamed a temporary slowdown in subscriber growth last year on the lifting of its price freeze on long-time customers who decided to drop the service rather than pay slightly more money.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Wedbush believes less than 10 percent of current subscribers will cancel Netflix as price rise again, but he predicts it will be tougher to attract new customers who will choose cheaper alternatives from Amazon or Hulu.

Categories: Local KSN News

New cars increasingly crammed with distracting technology

Thu, 10/05/2017 - 08:23

WASHINGTON (AP) — The infotainment technology that automakers are cramming into the dashboard of new vehicles is making drivers take their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel for dangerously long periods of time, an AAA study says.

The study released Thursday is the latest by University of Utah professor David Strayer, who has been examining the impact of infotainment systems on safety for AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety since 2013. Past studies also identified problems, but Strayer said the “explosion of technology” has made things worse.

Automakers now include more infotainment options to allow drivers to use social media, email and text. The technology is also becoming more complicated to use. Cars used to have a few buttons and knobs. Some vehicles now have as many as 50 buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard that are multi-functional. There are touch screens, voice commands, writing pads, heads-up displays on windshields and mirrors and 3-D computer-generated images.

“It’s adding more and more layers of complexity and information at drivers’ fingertips without often considering whether it’s a good idea to put it at their fingertips,” Strayer said. That complexity increases the overall amount of time drivers spend trying to use the systems.

The auto industry says the new systems are better alternatives for drivers than mobile phones and navigation devices that were not designed to be used while driving.

The vehicle-integrated systems “are designed to be used in the driving environment and require driver attention that is comparable to tuning the radio or adjusting climate controls, which have always been considered baseline acceptable behaviors while driving,” said Wade Newton, a spokesman for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

But Jake Nelson, AAA’s director for traffic safety advocacy and research, said drivers testing all 30 of the 2017 model year cars and light trucks took their eyes off the road and hands off the wheel while using infotainment systems. The test drivers used voice commands, touch screens and other interactive technologies to make calls, send texts, tune the radio or program navigation all while driving.

Clearly automakers haven’t worked hard enough to make the systems quick and easy to use, Nelson said. Researchers rated 23 of the 30 vehicles “very high” or “high” in terms of the attention they demanded from drivers. Seven were rated “moderate.” None required a low amount of attention to use.

Programming a destination into in-vehicle GPS navigation systems was the most distracting activity, taking drivers an average of 40 seconds to complete the task. At 25 mph (40 kph), a car can travel the length of four football fields during the time it takes to enter a destination. Previous research has shown that drivers who remove their eyes from the road for just two seconds double their risk for a crash.

Under pressure from industry, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2012 issued voluntary safety guidelines to automakers for dashboard technology instead of enforceable safety standards. The guidelines recommend that automakers lock out the ability to program navigation systems while a car is moving. However, the ability to program navigation while driving was available in 12 vehicles in the study.

The guidelines also recommend automakers prevent drivers from texting while driving, but three-quarters of the vehicles tested permit drivers to text while the car is moving. Texting was the second-most distracting task performed by test drivers.

Drivers looked away from the road less when using voice commands, but that safety benefit was offset by the increased amount of time drivers spent interacting with the systems.

AAA said drivers should use infotainment technologies “only for legitimate emergencies or urgent, driving-related purposes.” It also urged automakers to block the ability to program navigation systems or send texts while driving. Automakers should also design infotainment systems so that they require no more attention to use than listening to the radio or an audiobook, it said.

Nearly 70 percent of U.S. adults say they want the new technologies in their vehicles, but only 24 percent feel that the technology already works perfectly, according to an opinion survey conducted for AAA.

“Drivers want technology that is safe and easy to use,” said Marshall Doney, AAA’s president and CEO, “but many of the features added to infotainment systems today have resulted in overly complex and sometimes frustrating user experiences for drivers.”

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Follow Joan Lowy on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/AP_Joan_Lowy

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