Local KSN News
GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Garden City is one step closer to getting a sporting complex on the east side of town.
The local planning commission gave the green light for the proposal.
“What we created is a ‘Sports of the World’ concept,” said Lona DuVall with the Finney County Economic Development Corporation. “It allows us to incorporate some facilities that have been demanded in the community for a long time.”
It’ll house sports like soccer, rugby, cricket, and ice events.
“There’s really not a lot of those types of venues,” said DuVall. “This will be the best, largest facility between Wichita and Pueblo, for sure.”
The plan includes vendors selling food from around the world. The venue is meant to reflect the diversity of southwest Kansas.
“So we have the ice arena here with two sheets of ice,” said DuVall, demonstrating on a 3D model. “The world food plaza here. This is the championship field, outdoor field, allows for field sports. These are configurable fields utilized for practices, tournaments, and the field house which allows for indoor sporting activities.”
What the STAR bond does is use local and state sales tax revenues from the approved area and uses it to pay back the bond used to finance the project over 22 years.
The next step is to hold a public hearing before the commission votes to approve the plan or not.
“So long as it passes through the city commission,” said DuVall, “we’ll be able to package it up and send it to the department of commerce, get their final approval, and then the project is ready to go.”
The venue is expected to draw big crowds.
“The feasibility study shows that we can anticipate over 150,000 visitors a year just to the sporting complex,” said DuVall.
Tourism officials say those 150,000 visitors will add at least 17 million dollars to the local economy each year.
Officials expect the public hearing to take place in October. Several city commissioners tell KSN they don’t know the full details of the project yet, but they’re excited about the potential economic impact.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Andover football team got off to a hot start in 2016, but faded down the stretch. New coach Cade Armstrong joins the Trojans this year after being the defensive coordinator at Derby. And his arrival has given this team a jolt of energy as they prepare for 2017.
Andover starts the season September 1st on the road at Salina Central.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Hurricane Harvey and the disaster zone it is bound to leave behind are about 700 miles from Wichita, but distance is not a factor in those with helping hearts.
Several Wichita-area organizations and volunteers are gearing up to head to Texas and Louisiana to help disaster logistics. Village Tours provided 10 coach buses to be sent to the evacuation zone near San Antonio, according to president Jeff Arensdorf.
The American Red Cross is gearing up to send several Wichita area volunteers to aid in disaster relief. Shirley Barrett, a volunteer with the Red Cross since 2005, thinks she’ll get the call by next Wednesday. Her expertise? Financial case worker.
“Like if their house was destroyed, you know and they had no place to live and we could help with a hotel room or things like that,” Barrett said.
She’s excited at the thought of helping people and she’ll be in good company. The Red Cross has 10 shelters set up currently in the area and could have as many as 50 to 100 set up by the time disaster strikes according to executive director Jennifer Sanders.
“Efforts have definitely ramped up, we have approximately 450 staff and volunteers on the ground currently in Texas, we anticipate as many as 1,500 more staff and volunteers responding by Tuesday,” Sanders said.
For Wichita-based burger joint Freddy’s who has 10 Houston-area franchises, safety is paramount.
“We’re actually closing all of our restaurants at 7:00 this evening, really concerned about the safety of our team members and all of our guests that come into all of our restaurants,” co-owner Scott Redler said.
Freddy’s sent volunteers down to feed first-responders after other notable disasters in Joplin and Oklahoma City.
“We’re a good partner and a good neighbor, so we’ll help businesses if needed and it’s all one big team effort to help put things back to normal,” Redler said.
We have seen a great deal of cloud cover across the state today. It’s still allowing some sunshine to look through allowing temps to warm into the 80s. Thanks to our winds from the south/southeast, more moisture has returned.
This evening, I can’t rule out a shower or a storm along the Kansas/Oklahoma state line. There’s a slim chance for a stray raindrop due to a disturbance that will favor Oklahoma this evening. As we head into the evening, our rain chances will rise by Sunday and early Monday.
Temps are also expected to heat back up later in the work week. I’ll talk more about our weekend rain chances and the return of the heat tonight on KSN News at 5, 6 and 10.
I will also be updating you regarding Hurricane Harvey.
This afternoon, it was upgraded to a Category 3 storm. This isn’t surprising to me at all and I expected this to happen. There’s nothing to shear this storm apart and it’s over some incredibly warm waters of the Gulf. It should make landfall late this evening if not into the wee hours of Saturday. The disturbing thing about this storm is that it will park itself over Texas this weekend. And models next week indicate that it won’t get picked up from the flow. While it will weaken and become disorganized, it will continue to drop rain. Needless to say, several feet of rain are likely from this weekend and into next week. – Chief Meteorologist Lisa Teachman
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A scam artist has been using the phone number of the District Attorney’s Office in an attempt to convince consumers they owe money to cover a debt.
A local bankruptcy attorney contacted the Consumer Protection Division of the DA’s Office after one of his clients received a phone call claiming the client owed money and needed to pay immediately.
After further inquiry, it was discovered the scam artist was spoofing the number to the District Attorney’s Office, 316-660-3600. Spoofing is when a caller falsifies the information transmitted to a caller ID display to disguise the caller’s identity.
District Attorney Marc Bennett said no one in the District Attorney’s Office makes phone calls of this nature.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Police Department is looking for two suspects involved in a theft earlier this month.
According to authorities, two suspects entered a vehicle in the 1300 block of E Jump Street on August 12 and took several items from the car. The following items were stolen:
- 2 handguns: .357 Ruger and 40 caliber Sig Sauer
- camera gear
- hunting gear
- 2 ball caps
- jewelers tool kit
- bible that belonged to victim’s grandfather
The suspects were on bicycles. Authorities are asking if you have any information about the case to call the larceny section at 316-268-4234 or Crime Stoppers at 316-267-2111.
DENVER (AP) — A coach shown pushing cheerleaders down into splits on video in Denver was fired from another Colorado high school last year because of concerns about his techniques.
Ozell Williams is one of five school workers who have been placed on leave after the videos from East High School were made public and police opened a child abuse investigation.
Williams, the founder of a Denver-area tumbling school, worked as a contract employee with cheerleaders at Boulder High School during two stints in 2015 and 2016 to help them with choreography and tumbling. He worked with the cheerleaders once or twice a week in the fall of 2015 and also during a summer camp in 2016. He was dismissed three days into the four-day camp after a coach saw him using a technique similar to that seen in the Denver videos, said Randy Barber, a spokesman for the Boulder Valley School District.
A mother had also emailed the head coach, who was out of town at the time, about the technique, sometimes referred to as “breaking”, but he wasn’t fired until after another coach observed him using the technique with students.
Barber said administrators did not learn about the problems until this week when the videos were obtained and broadcast by Denver’s KUSA-TV.
Boulder High’s principal, James Hill, sent a letter to parents on Thursday asking anyone who had a problem working with Williams to tell administrators or police.
The videos show eight cheerleaders repeatedly being pushed into splits while their arms are held up by teammates. In one video, a girl repeatedly asks her coach to “please stop.” The TV station says the videos were shot on the phones of two team members and were sent anonymously to the station.
In Boulder, the head coach downplayed the mother’s concern about whether it was normal for Williams to break students so soon. In an email released by the district, the coach told her that Williams “has done it to the other girls along with many others and has had no issues” but that students don’t have to do anything they’re not comfortable with.
However, according to Jim Lord, director of the Cheerleading Coaches and Administration Association, the practice is outdated, damaging and rare. He also said he had never heard of the term “breaking.”
“While it is possible that some coaches have a perception that this is common within their small circle, it should be clear from the overwhelming number of coaches across the country who have come out against this that it is not a common occurrence. If anyone still harbors that opinion, this incident should help make it clear that it is not acceptable,” he said in a statement Friday.
Williams couldn’t be located for comment but he told The Denver Post on Thursday that the videos were taken out of context.
“You can definitely say that what was in the video could be seen in a different light,” he told the newspaper. “I would love to tell my story, but I can’t say anything else at this time.”
Williams graduated in the spring from the University of Colorado and often performed tumbling tricks before football games there. In a TEDx talk at the school last spring, he spoke about how a mentor he met while growing up in Chicago helped him develop his tumbling talent and how his skills provided an escape from a difficult childhood.
In addition to Williams, the East High School principal, an assistant principal, the cheer coach, an assistant cheer coach and a district lawyer are on leave during the investigation into the videos.
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) – A University of Kansas sorority is closing after more than 90 years on the Lawrence campus.
The international headquarters of Alpha Gamma Delta says its local Epsilon Beta chapter is closing for good. It was established in Kansas in 1922.
The Lawrence Journal-World reports a news release attributed the closing to “challenges” in membership recruitment but it did not elaborate.
More than 2,300 women have been initiated into the sorority chapter.
ANDOVER, Kan. (KSNW) – The Andover Police Department added a new member to the squad.
A 17-month-old Belgian Malinois is joining the Andover department’s K-9 unit. The pup was born in the Netherlands and purchased in Indiana.
Andover police officer Joel McLaughlin will begin a 10-week training period with the new addition starting on September 18. McLaughlin will train with the dog and the Wichita Police Department and the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.
Before the duo heads to training the puppy needs a name. Andover police is asking for the public’s help in selecting the name.
Have a great name in mind? Hop over to the Andover Police Department Facebook Page and leave your suggestion in the comments of their original post.
HOUSTON (AP) — The Latest on Hurricane Harvey as it takes aim at the Texas coast (all times local):
As Hurricane Harvey nears landfall, Harris County’s top elected official says he isn’t calling for an evacuation for residents of the county that includes Houston and many of its suburbs. That’s despite Texas Gov. Greg Abbott suggesting people in Houston should head north, away from the Texas Gulf Coast.
Ed Emmett, the Harris County judge, says that while the hurricane is expected to dump lots of rain on Houston, the city isn’t expected to receive large amounts of storm surge as well. Other communities on the Texas coast are expecting that.
Emmett said he had spoken to Abbott Friday afternoon and acknowledged residents of the nation’s fourth-largest city might have gotten a “mixed message.” But he said residents should stay put, in part because it’s too early for officials to determine where the most flooding would occur.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner asked people in the city to stay in their homes and off the roads to the extent possible. He said there might be a “greater danger” in having people who don’t need to be evacuated onto roads that could flood.
Houston officials are showing signs of frustration after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott urged anyone who can to evacuate before Hurricane Harvey arrives.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner on Friday tweeted “please think twice before trying to leave Houston en masse.” His plea came shortly after Abbott held a news conference urging Gulf Coast residents to pack up and leave, whether or not their cities are under evacuation orders.
The spokesman of emergency operations in Houston’s Harris County was even more direct. Francisco Sanchez tweeted: LOCAL LEADERS KNOW BEST.
No evacuation orders have been issued for Houston. The mixed signals between the Texas governor and local officials are emerging just hours before Harvey is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm.
Abbott has repeatedly suggested since Thursday that not enough people are evacuating. But state officials also say they have no count on how many people have actually left their homes.
The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Harvey has powered up to 125 mph (201 kph) as it bears down on the Texas coast, with its eye about 60 miles (95 kilometers) east-southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas.
The center said in its Friday afternoon update that the hurricane is traveling northwest at 10 mph (16 kph).
Hurricane force winds are not quite ashore but are within a couple dozen miles of land. Tropical storm force winds have already been measured in Aransas Pass, Texas.
The hurricane center said some additional strengthening is possible before Harvey makes landfall overnight.
Texas officials say they have no estimates on how many people along the coast are heeding warnings to evacuate before Hurricane Harvey makes landfall.
But Gov. Greg Abbott on Friday continued insisting that too many people are staying put. He urged anyone with the ability to flee the Gulf Coast to do so but stopped short of criticizing local officials who haven’t ordered mandatory evacuations.
State emergency officials have identified at least eight counties and seven cities that have issued mandatory evacuations. More than a dozen others are under voluntary evacuations.
Nim Kidd is the chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management. He says there’s no good way of telling how many people have evacuated and that congested highways along the Gulf Coast are a poor indicator of whether enough families are leaving.
The White House says President Donald Trump is making plans to travel to Texas early next week to monitor the effects of Hurricane Harvey.
Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the president is planning to go to Texas next week as the Gulf region prepares for the hurricane to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a powerful Category 3 hurricane.
The president was briefed Friday by the heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Homeland Security officials on the storm.
The Trump administration is encouraging people in the path of the hurricane to heed the advice and orders of local and state officials.
As Hurricane Harvey approaches the Texas coast, motorists were lining up in to fill up their gas tanks.
At one convenience store in Houston’s Meyerland neighborhood on Friday, at least 12 cars were lined up to fill up their gas tanks. A steady stream of customers entered and exited the store, buying everything from soda to chips.
Brent Borgstedte said it was the fourth gas station he’d gone to Friday to try and fill up his son’s car. The 55-year-old said he’d already stocked up on supplies to ride out the storm and the flooding that is predicted for the Houston area.
Borgstedte said, “I don’t think anybody is really that worried about it. I’ve lived here my whole life. I’ve been through several hurricanes.”
Borgstedte said the heavy rainfall could be the big problem for his neighborhood, which has a history of flooding, including the past two years.
Borgstedte, who is an insurance agent, said he expects to be very busy next week.
Texas officials say shelters that are opening statewide as Hurricane Harvey barrels toward the coast won’t ask arriving families about their immigration status.
Republican Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday the main focus is on safety and “the protection of life.” Harvey is set to make landfall a week before a new “sanctuary city” crackdown in Texas signed by Abbott takes effect.
The law allows police officers to ask people about their immigration status during routine stops. It also threatens police chiefs and sheriffs with jail time if they don’t cooperate with federal immigration authorities.
Texas’ largest cities, including Dallas and Houston, have asked a federal judge to stop the law from taking effect Sept. 1
Abbott also expressed no concerns about inland U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints hampering evacuation efforts near the Texas-Mexico border.
Harvey has been upgraded to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. It’s expected to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday morning.
Corpus Christi officials say American Airlines has joined other airlines in canceling all flights in and out of the city’s airport through the weekend as Hurricane Harvey approaches Texas.
The city said in a news release Friday afternoon that American has followed United and Southwest Airlines in canceling all flights through the weekend at Corpus Christi International Airport.
The city had earlier Friday that all flights were being canceled for the rest of the day.
The hurricane has been upgraded to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. It’s expected to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday morning.
The mayor of Corpus Christi is warning residents about the dangers of flooding and told them to be aware of warnings issued by officials as Hurricane Harvey heads toward Texas.
Mayor Joe McComb said at a news conference Friday, “If you understand what water can do when it’s rising fast and moving — it can be deadly.”
He said he doesn’t know how many people remained in low-lying areas after voluntary evacuations were advised, but he thought there had been a positive response.
Harvey was upgraded to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. The storm is expected to make landfall Friday night or Saturday morning on the middle Texas coast.
McComb says he had seen a lot of traffic from people leaving town, which also likely included those outside of low-lying areas.
He says, “People’s lives are our main function. Property is number two at this point.”
President Donald Trump is encouraging the public to prepare for Hurricane Harvey before it makes landfall in Texas.
Trump says on Twitter that he’s encouraging “everyone in the path of #HurricaneHarvey to heed the advice & orders of their local and state officials.” His tweet included a link with more information on the storm.
Harvey was upgraded to a dangerous Category 3 hurricane. The storm is expected to make landfall Friday night or Saturday morning on the middle Texas coast.
Trump was briefed on the storm earlier in the day and was expected to monitor Harvey during the weekend at Camp David.
A water management official says large “supersacks” of sand are being used to reinforce a damaged section of floodwall east of Houston and will be enough to withstand the storm surge Hurricane Harvey will bring.
Phil Kelley is general manager of Jefferson County Drainage District Number 7. He says there are also 20 pumping stations in the area of Port Arthur, along the Louisiana border, to absorb and redirect stormwater that floods the area.
The National Hurricane Center says Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm. It’s forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
Officials discovered early this month that a section of the concrete wall in Port Arthur was damaged and cracked. The floodwall is part of a hurricane flood protection system that safeguards Port Arthur and several surrounding cities.
Kelley said Friday that he’s confident the floodwall is reinforced enough to withstand a storm surge of up to 10 feet. (3 meters)
He says the area is “not at the mercy of the bayous or the tides” like other places and that the drainage district “can force our stormwater out of here.”
The National Hurricane Center is practically running out of scary words to describe Hurricane Harvey and get people to get out of its way.
The center has called Harvey “life-threatening,” ”dangerous” and “catastrophic.” The head of the National Weather Service talked of “grave risk.”
National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says, “We’re using every synonym we can find in the book. We hope they realize that this can kill them. And they need to get out of its way.”
The National Hurricane Center says Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm. The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 120 mph (193 kph). It’s forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
The National Hurricane Center says tide gauges off the coast of Texas indicate that storm surge is already occurring near Corpus Christi and Port Aransas.
That news comes as the National Hurricane Center says Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm.
The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 120 mph (193.11 kph) as the powerful storm churns off the Texas coast. Forecasters are labeling it a “life-threatening storm.”
It’s forecast to make landfall on the mid-Texas coast late Friday or early Saturday.
The National Hurricane Center says Hurricane Harvey has strengthened to a Category 3 storm.
The center says Harvey has maximum wind speeds of 120 mph (193.11 kph) as the powerful storm churns off the Texas coast. Forecasters are labeling it a “life-threatening storm.”
The storm quickly grew Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane, and then developed into a Category 2 storm early Friday. By Friday afternoon, it had become a Category 3 storm. It’s forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday.
The slow-moving storm is fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters. Forecasters are labeling it a “life-threatening storm” with landfall predicted late Friday or early Saturday between Port O’Connor and Matagorda Bay, a 30-mile (48-kilometer) stretch of coastline about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.
The National Hurricane Center says weather conditions are deteriorating along the Texas coast as Hurricane Harvey nears landfall. Water levels are rising and winds are already blowing with tropical storm force.
The center said Friday afternoon that the hurricane is expected to bring life-threatening storm surge, rainfall and wind to portions of the Texas coast.
National Hurricane Center spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen says, “The tropical storm force winds have already commenced on the Gulf Coast. You’ve essentially run out of time for outdoors preparations. You need to find a safe place and you need to stay there.”
The center says sustained winds were still holding at 110 mph (177 kph). Forecasters have said it will intensify and make landfall Friday evening or early Saturday as a likely Category 3 storm, meaning sustained winds topping 115 mph (185.07 kph).
The center says swells generated by the hurricane are already affecting the coasts in Texas, Louisiana and northeast Mexico, and those swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions
Officials in Vermilion Parish on Louisiana’s coast have called for a voluntary evacuation as Hurricane Harvey heads for landfall in nearby Texas.
Rebecca Broussard is director of Vermilion Parish’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. She says about 10,000 residents live in the rural part of the parish covered by Friday’s voluntary evacuation order.
Earlier, a mandatory evacuation was ordered for southern Cameron Parish, a coastal parish at the Texas state line, to the west of Vermilion. That order affects an estimated 3,500 people.
Also, the City Council in the southwest Louisiana city of Sulphur declared a state of emergency Friday morning, in preparation for possible flooding rains from Harvey.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is warning people that Hurricane Harvey “is going to be a very major disaster.”
Abbott said Friday that he’s asked President Donald Trump for a federal disaster declaration.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Aside from savage winds and storm surges, the system was expected to drop prodigious amounts of rain. The resulting flooding, one expert said, could be “the depths of which we’ve never seen.”
As if nearly 3 feet (0.91 meters) of rain over the next several days, up to 12 feet (3.5 meters) of storm surge and triple-digit winds aren’t enough, Hurricane Harvey is also likely to spawn tornadoes.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
The National Weather Service alerted that people to the north and northeast of Harvey’s eye may experience tornadoes.
University of Miami senior hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy says tornadoes are very common during hurricanes, usually in the outer rain bands in the northeast quadrant of the storm. It’s because of the way the winds blow and rotate there.
The mayor of the popular Texas Gulf Coast city of Galveston says the city is expected to be inundated with water from Hurricane Harvey.
Mayor James Yarbrough said during a news conference Friday that Hurricane Harvey is expected to flood downtown streets. A storm surge of 2 feet (0.61 meter) to 4 feet (1.22 meters) of water is expected to inundate much of the city while up 8 feet could cover other areas. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm.
He says a leading concern is that high tide will occur Saturday morning, shortly after Harvey makes landfall, and the water is not expected to recede for three or four days.
Galveston was lashed by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and Yarbrough says a difference is that Ike passed through quickly while Harvey will linger and drop substantial rainfall.
He says utility lines and other infrastructure have been upgraded since 2008 to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. Harvey is forecast to become a Category 3 by the time it makes landfall.
Forecasters say effects from Hurricane Harvey could be felt at far east as the Alabama coast and the western Florida Panhandle.
Harvey is forecast to make landfall in Texas late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm. It’s predicted to slam into the Texas coast and dump torrential rains before moving eastward.
The National Weather Service says rip currents associated with Harvey could be a problem some 650 miles (1,046 kilometers) away in the Florida Panhandle.
Officials say that means there’s an elevated risk for hazardous surf conditions over the weekend in places including the Alabama coast and around Pensacola, Florida.
Forecasters now say there’s a good chance Hurricane Harvey may hit Texas twice, worsening projected flooding.
The National Hurricane Center’s official five-day forecast Friday has Harvey slamming the central Texas coast, stalling and letting loose with lots of rain. Then forecasters project the weakened but still tropical storm is likely to go back into the Gulf of Mexico, gain some strength and hit Houston next week.
Jeff Masters, Weather Underground’s meteorology director, said this could cause a collision of high water with nowhere to go. Harvey is projected to drop up to 3 feet (0.91 meter) of rain in some places over the next several days.
But a second landfall near Houston means more storm surge coming from the Gulf. Storm surge is an abnormal rise of water above the normal tide, generated by a storm.
President Donald Trump says he’s keeping a close watch on Hurricane Harvey.
On Twitter Friday, Trump said he “Received a #HurricaneHarvey briefing this morning” from top federal officials.
In another statement on Twitter, Trump said he had spoken with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards. He added: “Closely monitoring #HurricaneHarvey developments & here to assist as needed.”
Trump tweeted Thursday, encouraging people to be prepared. Harvey is forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Corpus Christi officials say all flights out of the city’s airport have been canceled as Hurricane Harvey approaches.
The city said in a news release late Friday morning that the airlines had canceled all flights out of Corpus Christi International Airport for the rest of the day.
The city said the airport isn’t closed, but officials don’t anticipate much activity over the weekend. Runways will be closed as conditions warrant. The hurricane is expected to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday morning.
The city says Southwest and United Airlines have no scheduled flights until Monday, while American Airlines hopes to resume service on Saturday.
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott says there’s still time for coastal residents in the path of Hurricane Harvey to get out of harm’s way. But he says they must leave immediately.
Abbott on Friday didn’t second-guess local officials who have called for voluntary and not mandatory evacuations. He told The Weather Channel that mayors and local leaders “know their terrain very well.”
Abbott has expressed concerns that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms as Harvey bears down on the state. Harvey is forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Abbott has activated about 700 members of the Texas National Guard in preparation for Harvey. The storm is set to be the first hurricane to make landfall on the Texas coast since Hurricane Ike in 2008.
Hurricane Harvey continues to swirl toward the middle Texas coast as it flirts with becoming a major Category 3 storm.
The National Hurricane Center’s latest advisory as of 10 a.m. Friday places the storm about 115 miles (185 kilometers) southeast of Corpus Christi, moving 10 mph (17 kph) to the northwest. Sustained winds have been holding at 110 mph (177 kph).
Forecasters have said it will intensify and make landfall Friday evening or early Saturday as a likely Category 3 storm, meaning sustained winds topping 115 mph (185.07 kph).
Once the storm makes landfall, gradual weakening is forecast but because so much of the storm remains over the warm Gulf of Mexico, which fuels Harvey, the hurricane center says the weakening could be slower than normal.
That also means the storm is likely to be a huge rainmaker. Predictions for a wide area of Texas from the coast and inland for rainfall measuring up to nearly 3 feet (0.91 meter) as the storm stalls and meanders well into next week.
An emergency management official on the Texas coast says a primary concern as Harvey approaches is heavy rain that could leave many towns isolated for days as they’re turned into “essentially islands.”
Harvey is forecast to make landfall late Friday or early Saturday as a Category 3 storm.
Melissa Munguia is deputy emergency management coordinator for Nueces (nyoo-AY’-sis) County. She says there are vast flatlands just inland from the central Texas coast that are prone to flooding.
The approximately 20 inches (50 centimeters) of rain that Harvey may bring could leave towns in the area isolated well into next week.
Munguia says that traffic backups were being seen Friday on heavily traveled roads such as Interstate 37 as people move inland to San Antonio and other locations.
The National Hurricane Center warns that conditions are deteriorating as Hurricane Harvey strengthens and slowly moves toward the Texas coast.
The center says preparations for the storm “should be rushed to completion” Friday morning along Texas’ central Gulf Coast.
The center says the storm has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph), just shy of the benchmark for a Category 3 storm. Forecasters say the storm is expected to reach that mark before making landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
Millions of people are bracing for a prolonged battering that could swamp dozens of counties more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) inland.
Brock Long is the director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He tells “Good Morning America” that Harvey is a “very serious” threat and that the window for evacuating is quickly closing.
Long says he expects extensive damage from significant rain over the next three days.
Texas residents and officials are preparing for Hurricane Harvey, which the National Hurricane Center says has strengthened to a Category 2 storm.
Harvey grew quickly Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane. Early Friday, the center reported it’s now at a Category 2.
Fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters, the storm is projected to become a major Category 3 hurricane. Forecasters are labeling it a “life-threatening storm” with landfall predicted late Friday or early Saturday between Port O’Connor and Matagorda Bay, a 30-mile (48-kilometer) stretch of coastline about 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.
Texas officials have been expressing concern that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms as Hurricane Harvey bears down on the state.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Crews are removing an 83-year-old Confederate memorial from a grassy area along a Kansas City thoroughfare.
Workers began taking down the 9-foot tall monument with benches on either side Friday morning. The Missouri Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy asked Kansas City Parks and Recreation officials to move the monument to a place of safety. The request came after someone painted what appeared to be a red hammer and sickle on the “Loyal Women of the Old South” memorial last week.
Crews covered it with plywood boards Sunday to prevent further graffiti until it could be relocated.
The memorial was erected in 1934 to recognize women who supported the Confederacy. A private, anonymous donor is paying for the removal.
Watch as NBC radar tracks the storm’s moment, and the latest news conferences and affiliate live coverage on Hurricane Harvey.
CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) — Police are providing extra patrols around the home of a Massachusetts woman who won the $758.7 million Powerball prize.
Mavis Wanczyk, a hospital worker from the western Massachusetts town of Chicopee, was announced Thursday as the winner of the biggest undivided lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
“This is a great thing,” Officer Michael Wilk, a spokesman for Chicopee police, said Friday. “We want her to know we’re there if she needs us.”
Wilk said officers are keeping an extra eye out, and have even parked in her driveway, as members of the media and others have descended on the neighborhood. Officers have spoken to neighbors to tell them that if they see anything suspicious, they should call the police, he said.
While reporters have been respectful, Wilk said there have been reports from neighbors that others have been hanging around, looking for Wanczyk.
“Besides media, there have been people knocking on doors, asking people where she lives. We’re not going to tolerate her being harassed or bothered,” he said.
Wilk said they were told by a neighbor that she is not around.
Wanczyk quit her job on Thursday after learning she had won the prize. Lottery officials say she chose to take a lump sum payment of $480 million, or $336 million after taxes.
Wanczyk has an adult daughter and son, and was accompanied Thursday to claim her winnings by other family members.
MassLive.com reports that her ex-husband was killed last year in a hit-and-run. Court records show Mavis and William Wanczyk divorced in 2012.
William Wanczyk, 55, of Northampton, was killed in November when he was sitting at a bus shelter in Amherst, Massachusetts, and a pickup truck plowed into it. He had served as a Northampton firefighter from 1986 to 1989 before being injured on the job.
Peter Sheremeta, 20, of Belchertown, was later arrested and charged with manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide, drunken driving and other charges.
He has pleaded not guilty. Authorities say a truck without its headlights on was seen speeding before it started to fishtail, drove onto the sidewalk and struck the bus shelter. The heavily damaged truck was found abandoned nearby.
The couple’s daughter, Marlee Wanczyk, told The Republican newspaper at the time of Sheremeta’s arraignment that her father was a “wise-cracker” who enjoyed playing practical jokes.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Former Kansas Lt. Gov. Tom Docking’s law firm says the Wichita attorney and son and grandson of governors has died. He was 63.
Docking died Thursday night after battling cancer. His death was confirmed by A.J. Schwartz, the CEO of Docking’s law firm. Other details were not immediately available.
Docking served as lieutenant governor from 1983 to 1987 during Democratic Gov. John Carlin’s second term.
He was a member of the state’s most prominent Democratic family.
His father, Robert Docking, was governor from 1967 to 1975, and his grandfather, George Docking, held the office from 1957 to 1961. Tom Docking was the Democratic nominee for governor in 1986 but lost to Republican Mike Hayden.
His wife, Jill, ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate in 1996 and lieutenant governor in 2014.
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — A couple from Florida has donated $3 million for renovation of the university’s Hale Library.
The university said the gift from Dave and Ellie Everitt, of Marco Island, Florida, is first major donation toward the $6.5 million first-floor renovation and modernization project.
The Manhattan Mercury reports the renovation will create a more accessible entrance. It also will add group study spaces, instruction rooms, more spaces for student services, exhibit space for special collections, a café and an event space.
Ellie Everitt graduated from Kansas State in 1973 with a degree in clothing and textiles. Dave Everitt earned his degree in industrial engineering from the College of Engineering in 1975.
The Everitts previously gave $2 million to the School of Leadership Studies and $1 million to the Kansas State Welcome Center.
Howdy, folks! We’ve seen more clouds across the area this morning, keeping our temperatures fairly mild. As of 11 a.m., it’s 76° in Wichita with a light southeast breeze and slightly muggier conditions than yesterday.
Overall, it’s quiet all across Kansas today, but it’s a very different story in Texas and Louisiana. Hurricane Harvey (currently a Category 2 storm) is churning in the Gulf of Mexico, already impacting the coast. It is expected to make landfall as a Category 3 storm (wind speeds up to about 125 mph) sometime tonight in southeastern Texas.
As if the initial threat of damaging winds and storm surge isn’t enough along the coast tonight into tomorrow, the even bigger issue is that the system is expected to park itself over Texas for several days, not ejecting to the northeast until the middle of next week. This means that life-threatening flooding will be possible in areas like Corpus Christi, Port Lavaca, and Houston, with widespread 1-2′ of rain likely, and even isolated amounts up to 35″ possible.
We will be monitoring Harvey very closely, but for us, we will see little to no impact weather-wise. Expect a nice Friday across Kansas with partly cloudy skies and warm temperatures in the mid to upper 80s.
However, I am tracking a weak storm system for us this weekend. I’ll let you know when you may need to make your plans indoors over the coming days, straight ahead on KSN News at Noon!
~Katie the Weather Lady
ABOARD THE USS NIMITZ (AP) — High above the Persian Gulf, an Iranian drone crosses the path of American fighter jets lining up to land on the USS Nimitz.
The drone buzzes across the sky more than a mile above the massive aircraft carrier and is spotted by the fighters. It is unarmed.
But for the senior Navy commanders on the ship, the presence of the enemy drone so close is worrying. Their biggest fear is the surveillance aircraft will start carrying weapons, posing a more direct threat to U.S. vessels transiting one of the world’s most significant strategic and economic international waterways.
“It’s just a matter of time before we see that,” said Navy Rear Adm. Bill Byrne, commander of the carrier strike group that includes the Nimitz. He said the Iranian drone activity has “generated a lot of discussion” and was becoming an increasingly pressing matter of concern.
If, at some point, Byrne believes a drone is threatening his ship, he and his staff would have to carefully proceed through the required responses — efforts at communication, sounding the horn, firing flares and warning shots, and flying a helicopter close to the unmanned vehicle. If all those efforts fail and he still perceives a threat, Byrne said it would be his duty, his “responsibility,” to shoot down the Iranian drone.
So far, it hasn’t come to that. But the drones have become an even more dangerous security risk as U.S. carriers in the Persian Gulf like the Nimitz play a key role in Iraq and Syria. Planes from these ships are regularly flying to each country to bomb militants fighting with the Islamic State group and other targets. From the Nimitz alone, U.S. fighter jets flew missions resulting in at least 350 bombs being dropped on IS militants just in the last month.
Iran has routinely challenged U.S. ships and aircraft across the Gulf, asserting at times that the entire waterway is its territory. Navy commanders say Iran’s unpredictable behavior is the biggest safety hazard.
“Iranians don’t always follow the rules,” Byrne said. “There is a well-established set of norms, standards and laws. They don’t tend to follow them.”
To counter the threat, Pentagon experts are searching for new ways to deter, defeat or disable the drones. According to Byrne and Cdr. Dave Kurtz, the Nimitz’s executive officer, Iranian drones fly over the carrier strike group almost daily.
They said the danger is that as the F/A-18 fighters return from their missions in Iraq and Syria, they circle overhead, lining up for their turn to land on the carrier. Even if the Iranian drones are only meant to annoy, their buzzing across the American flight paths risks an accident.
Up in the carrier’s control room, a book on Iranian naval and maritime forces sits above the radar screen. Commanders on the ship announce when a drone appears. Then, they go through a careful, planned response of attempted radio calls and warnings.
Gen. Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, visited the Nimitz on Thursday, also stopping on the nearby USS Vella Gulf, a guided missile cruiser. The drone, he said, also flew over that ship.
“The proliferation of drones is a real challenge,” said Votel, who was finishing his 10-day trip to the Middle East and Afghanistan. “It’s growing exponentially.”
Speaking with traveling reporters, Votel said the Pentagon has sought to devise more high-tech ways to handle the drones through the Joint Improvised-Threat Defeat Organization, originally set up in 2006 to counter improvised explosive devices used by insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan to kill and maim American troops.
Much as it did with that decade-old roadside bomb battle, the organization now focuses on how to deal with Iran’s drones, Votel said. He didn’t provide details, but he acknowledged that U.S. cyber capabilities could be used to defeat a drone or the network controlling it.
The military is training troops on drone response, he said. But right now, said Byrne, they’re still following their normal procedures. And he still hasn’t been forced to shoot one down.
Byrne described how a helicopter from the Nimitz flew by the drone to ensure it wasn’t weaponized. In the month the Nimitz has been in the Gulf, efforts to speak with the drone operators have been hit or miss, he said.
“Sometimes they answer, sometimes they don’t,” he said, echoing experiences American forces have had with small Iranian fast boats that pose a similar threat of coming too close by sea.
When the Iranians do answer, Byrne said, they often “challenge our assertion that they are flying into danger.” The drones fly out of airfields up and down the Iranian coast, mainly watching U.S. ships and taking photos.
On Thursday, the Nimitz was about 40 miles from the Iranian coast, halfway between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.
HOUSTON (AP) — Conditions were deteriorating along Texas’s Gulf Coast on Friday as Hurricane Harvey strengthened and slowly moved toward the state, with forecasters warning that evacuations and preparations “should be rushed to completion.”
Millions of people were bracing for a prolonged battering from the hurricane, which could be the fiercest such storm to hit the U.S. in nearly a dozen years. Forecasters labeled Harvey a “life-threatening storm” that posed a “grave risk,” saying it could swamp several counties more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) inland.
Fueled by warm Gulf of Mexico waters, the storm now has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (177 kph), just shy of the benchmark for a Category 3 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center. The center expect the storm to reach that mark before it makes landfall late Friday or early Saturday.
Brock Long, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, told “Good Morning America” early Friday that Harvey was a “very serious” threat and that the window for evacuating was quickly closing.
“Texas is about to get hit by a major hurricane,” Long said. “We’re going to see significant rainfall over the next three days. There’s going to be damage.”
Landfall was predicted along the central Texas coast, between Port O’Connor and Matagorda Bay. The stretch of coastline spans about 30 miles (48 kilometers) roughly 70 miles (110 kilometers) northeast of Corpus Christi.
The center reports the storm has the potential to produce winds hitting 125 mph (201 kph) and storm surges of 12 feet (4 meters).
“We’re forecasting continuing intensification right up until landfall,” National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen said.
Harvey grew quickly Thursday from a tropical depression into a Category 1 hurricane, and then Category 2 hurricane early Friday. The last storm to reach Category 3 hit the U.S. was Hurricane Wilma in October 2005 in Florida.
Superstorm Sandy, which pummeled New York and New Jersey in 2012, never had the high winds and had lost tropical status by the time it struck. But it was devastating without formally being called a major hurricane.
All seven Texas counties on the coast from Corpus Christi to the western end of Galveston Island have ordered mandatory evacuations of tens of thousands of residents from all low-lying areas. Officials in four counties ordered full evacuations and warned there was no guarantee of rescue for people staying behind.
Voluntary evacuations have been urged for Corpus Christi and for the Bolivar Peninsula, a sand spit near Galveston where many homes were washed away by the storm surge of Hurricane Ike in 2008.
On Thursday, Texas officials expressed concern that not as many people are evacuating compared with previous storms.
“A lot of people are taking this storm for granted thinking it may not pose much of a danger to them,” Gov. Greg Abbott told Houston television station KPRC. “Please heed warnings and evacuate as soon as possible.”
Abbott has activated about 700 members of the state National Guard ahead of Harvey making landfall.
Harvey’s effect is expected to be broad: The hurricane center said large storm surges could be expected as far north as Morgan City, Louisiana, some 400 miles (644 kilometers) away from the anticipated landfall.
And once it comes ashore, the storm is expected to stall, dumping copious amounts of rain for days in areas like flood-prone Houston, the nation’s fourth most-populous city, and San Antonio.
State transportation officials were considering when to turn all evacuation routes from coastal areas into one-way traffic arteries headed inland. John Barton, a former deputy executive director of the Texas Department of Transportation, predicted state officials will do so before the storm hits. But storms change paths, and if contraflow starts too early, supplies such as extra gasoline needed to support impacted areas can’t get in, he said.
This would be the first hurricane for Bethany Martinez, who is pregnant and has two sons, ages 5 and 6, who were with grandparents in Austin. Asked about her demeanor, Martinez said: “Afraid.”
She’s a front desk clerk at a Holiday Inn Express at Port Aransas. “We are closing down,” Martinez said of the 74-room hotel a couple blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. It was about two-thirds full before all guests were cleared out.
Driscoll Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi was airlifting at least 10 critically ill, mostly premature infants from its neonatal intensive care unit to Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth. They were expected to arrive by early Friday. Cook transport director Debbie Boudreaux said the infants were being moved inland for fear that power outages might disable their ventilators.
Harvey would be the first significant hurricane to hit Texas since Ike in September 2008 brought winds of 110 mph (177 kph) to the Galveston and Houston areas, inflicting $22 billion in damage. It would be the first big storm along the middle Texas coast since Hurricane Claudette in 2003 caused $180 million in damage.
It’s taking aim at the same vicinity as Hurricane Carla, the largest Texas hurricane on record. Carla came ashore in 1961 with wind gusts estimated at 175 mph and inflicted more than $300 million in damage. The storm killed 34 people and forced about 250,000 people to evacuate.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said President Donald Trump was “briefed and will continue to be updated as the storm progresses.”
In Houston, one of the nation’s most flood-prone cities, Bill Pennington prepared his one-story home for what he expected would be its third invasion of floodwaters in as many years and the fifth since 1983.
“We know how to handle it. We’ll handle it again,” Pennington said he told his nervous 9-year-old son.
Dozens were in lines Thursday at a Corpus Christi Sam’s Club, at home improvement stores and supermarkets. Alex Garcia bought bottled water, bread and other basics in the Houston suburb of Sugar Land after dropping his daughter off at college. He said grocery items were likely more available in Houston than back home in Corpus Christi, where Garcia, a beer distributor salesman, said stores were “crazy.”
“We’ll be selling lots of beer,” he laughed.
In Galveston, where a 1900 hurricane went down as the worst in U.S. history, City Manager Brian Maxwell said he was anticipating street flooding and higher-than-normal tides.
“Obviously being on an island, everybody around here is kind of used to it.”
Associated Press writers Frank Bajak in Houston; Seth Borenstein and Catherine Lucey in Washington; Diana Heidgerd, Jamie Stengle and David Warren in Dallas; and videographer John Mone in Sugar Land, Texas, contributed to this report.
DETROIT (AP) — U.S. prosecutors will seek a three-year prison sentence on Friday for a Volkswagen engineer who had a key role in the company’s diesel emissions scandal.
Robert Liang, 63, was one of two VW employees to plead guilty in the scheme, although others charged in the case are in Germany and out of reach. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday in federal court in Detroit.
Prosecutors said Liang was aware that VW used software to cheat U.S. emission rules on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles. His lawyer said he’s not “greedy or immoral” but followed orders to keep his job and support his family.
Liang has asked the judge to consider a sentence of probation and 1,500 hours of community service. The government said Liang wasn’t the mastermind but took part in “pivotal events.”
Liang last year pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government. He agreed to cooperate with investigators in the U.S. and Germany.
Volkswagen and U.S. environmental regulators announced agreement last month on a plan for the automaker to fix most of the diesel cars involved in the emissions cheating scandal.
Volkswagen has admitted that the cars were sold with illegal software programmed to turn on emissions controls during government lab tests and turn them off while on the road. Investigators determined that the cars emitted more than 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, which can cause respiratory problems in humans.
The company got away with the scheme for seven years until independent researchers reported it to government regulators.
NEW YORK (AP) — You can finally shake it off: Taylor Swift has released her new single.
The 27-year-old singer dropped the upbeat song “Look What You Made Me Do” — which uses an interpolation from Right Said Fred’s 1991 hit “I’m Too Sexy” — late Thursday to streaming platforms and iTunes. The song, featuring elements of pop, dance and house, includes sharp lyrics like: “Honey, I rose up from the dead I do it all the time/I got a list of names and yours is in red, underlined I check it once/Then I check it twice.”
The track ends with a voice message of Swift saying, “I’m sorry, but the old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now. Why? Oh, ’cause she’s dead.”
The video will premiere Sunday night on the MTV Video Music Awards. A clip of the video aired Friday on “Good Morning America.”
Some felt the song was a diss toward Kanye West, whom Swift has had issues with in the past. Last year their feud hit a new height when West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, released audio recordings that she said proved Swift gave West the go ahead for a Swift reference in the song “Famous.”
Swift’s voice message on her new song could be a reference to the audio Kardashian leaked. Others felt the opening lines of “Look What You Made Me Do” — “I don’t like your little games/Don’t like your tilted stage” — was a reference to West’s recent tour, which featured a floating stage.
The anticipation of “Look What You Made Me Do” helped Swift trend heavily on social media. The song is the first single from her sixth album, “reputation,” to be released Nov. 10.
Swift wiped her social media pages clean last week and caused a frenzy online with video snippets of slithery snake parts. Fans dissected the clues in hopes it would reveal details about her new music, and the pop star finally announced Wednesday that a new song would come this week followed by an album three months later.
“Reputation” is the follow-up to 2014’s “1989,” Swift’s first official pop album after years of dominating in country music. “1989” launched seven hit singles, from “Shake It Off” to “Bad Blood,” and won three Grammys, including album of the year. The album helped her produce a star-studded world tour, featuring guest appearances from musicians such as Justin Timberlake and John Legend to A-List celebrities like Ellen DeGeneres and Chris Rock.
“Look What You Made Me Do” uses an interpolation of a melody from “I’m Too Sexy,” a No.1 hit that was written by Richard Fairbrass, Fred Fairbrass and Rob Manzoli. After the song’s release, Right Said Fred tweeted thanks to Swift and called the new song a marvelous reinvention.
Swift wrote and produced the new song with frequent collaborator Jack Antonoff, who performs in the bands Bleachers and fun. Antonoff, who has produced for Lorde, Sia, Sara Bareilles and others, earned a Grammy Award for his work on three songs from Swift’s “1989.”
He also produced and co-wrote Swift and Zayn’s Top 5 hit from the “Fifty Shades Darker” soundtrack, “I Don’t Want to Live Forever,” and the two shared a Golden Globe nomination for the song “Sweeter than Fiction,” from the 2013 film “Once Chance.”
Swift’s “reputation” could become the singer’s fourth album to sell more than one million albums in its debut week, following “1989,” 2012’s “Red” and 2010’s “Speak Now.”