Local KSN News
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Longtime Republican Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, told The Associated Press on Monday that he will resign April 1 because of health problems.
Cochran, who turned 80 in December, stayed home for a month last fall with urinary tract infections, returning to Washington in October to give Republicans the majority they needed to pass a budget plan.
“I regret my health has become an ongoing challenge,” Cochran said in a statement. “I intend to fulfill my responsibilities and commitments to the people of Mississippi and the Senate, through the completion of the 2018 appropriations cycle, after which I will formally retire from the U.S. Senate.”
He was first elected to the Senate in 1978 after serving six years in the House.
“It has been a great honor to serve the people of Mississippi and our country. I’ve done my best to make decisions in the best interests of our nation, and my beloved state,” Cochran said. “My top concern has always been my constituents in Mississippi. My hope is by making this announcement now, a smooth transition can be ensured so their voice will continue to be heard in Washington, D.C. My efforts, and those of my staff, to assist them will continue and transfer to my successor.”
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant will appoint a temporary replacement. Then a special election will be held to fill the rest of the term, through January 2021.
Cochran won a bitter Republican primary runoff in 2014 over state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who had support from tea party groups. That race grabbed national attention after a McDaniel supporter entered a nursing home without permission and photographed Cochran’s wife, Rose, who was bedridden with dementia. Images of her appeared briefly online. McDaniel said he had no connection to the incident. Rose Cochran died in December 2014.
McDaniel announced last week that he will run this year against Mississippi’s other Republican senator, Roger Wicker. But moments after making that announcement at a rally in his hometown of Ellisville, McDaniel said he could drop out of the Wicker race and run in the special election if Cochran resigns.
Follow Emily Wagster Pettus on Twitter: http://twitter.com/EWagsterPettus .
OLATHE, Kan. (AP) – A former Olathe South High School teacher who engaged in a sexual relationship with a student has been sentenced to three years of probation.
As part of a plea deal, 43-year-old Michael Jasiczek will serve 10 days of “shock time” in jail and will have to register as a sex offender.
The Kansas City Star reports the former sociology teacher said he began treatment after he was charged in June.
Jasiczek was an assistant football coach at Olathe South High School until May, when he was placed on administrative leave.
He pleaded guilty in January to engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse and lewd touching with a student over the age of 16. A third fondling charge was dropped.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The statewide tornado drill is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m.
Sedgwick County Emergency Management will test the sirens in conjunction with the drill Tuesday at 10 a.m.
To help the community prepare for severe weather, Emergency Management is holding free severe weather safety classes throughout Sedgwick County.
The presentations are designed to teach attendees the about severe weather and ways to stay safe.
A list of classes can be found here or below.
As severe weather season approaches, remember to:
- Get a Kit – Gather necessary items and information for your family’s emergency preparedness kit.
- Make a Plan – A thorough and practiced plan can help you keep track of family members in any emergency.
- Be Informed – Stay tuned to sources of information before, during and after an emergency.
- Get Involved – We all have a role to play in keeping our hometowns safe. Contact local volunteer organizations to find out how you can contribute.
More information about each of these preparedness steps may be found at www.sedgwickcounty.org.
ASHLAND, Kan. (KSNW) – Fire crews are battling a grass fire in Clark County.
KSN just spoke with the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. The department said the grass fire is about four miles west of Ashland and south of U.S. 160. The fire was moving south. There is no word on how large the fire is at this time.
Fire departments from other counties are assisting in battling the blaze.
The National Weather Service in Dodge City has issued a Red Flag Warning for wind and low relative humidity. The service said any fires that start will have extreme fire behavior and spread rapidly due to ongoing drought and excessively dry dormant grasses.
The KSN Storm Tracker 3 weather team picked up the plume of smoke on radar.
DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities are investigating a homicide at a motel in Dodge City. On Sunday morning around 10:30 a.m., deputies with the Ford County Sheriff’s Office received information about a possible homicide inside a Dodge City motel.
Members of the Dodge City Police Department and Ford County Sheriff’s Office located the motel and discovered the body of a 27-year-old woman from Howell. She suffered a single gunshot wound to the head.
An 18-year-old Dodge City man has been arrested for the alleged crime of first-degree murder and aggravated robbery. Police will file the charges with the Ford County Attorney’s Office today.
Although an arrest has been made, detectives are still conducting follow-up on the case. If you have information contact the Dodge City Police Department.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (KSNW) – The American Athletic Conference announced its men’s basketball all-conference and all-rookie teams in advance of the 2018 Aaron’s American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship, which runs March 8-11 in Orlando, Fla.
After claiming the No. 2 seed for the conference championship in its first season in The American, Wichita State standouts Landry Shamet and were both voted first team all-conference by the league’s coaches.
Wichita State will face the winner of the Temple vs. Tulane game on Friday at 7 p.m. in the American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship.
RELATED LINK | 2018 AAC Championship Bracket
First Team All-Conference:
Gary Clark, Cincinnati
Jacob Evans III, Cincinnati
Rob Gray, Houston
Shaquille Morris, Wichita State
Landry Shamet, Wichita State
Second Team All-Conference:
Jalen Adams, UConn
Junior Etou, Tulsa
Melvin Frazier, Tulane
Jeremiah Martin, Memphis
Shake Milton, SMU
Honorable Mention All-Conference:
A.J. Davis, UCF
Quinton Rose, Temple
Kyle Washington, Cincinnati
Ethan Chargois, SMU
David Collins, USF
Nate Pierre-Louis, Temple
Fabian White, Houston
Shawn Williams, ECU
DERBY, Kan. (KSNW) – Derby officials said a student was arrested after a weapon was found on school property.
The district sent out the following letter:
Safety and security are a top priority at Derby Public Schools. We want you to be aware that a DHS student was arrested this morning and taken into custody for possession of a weapon on school property. A tip was given to administration about a student possibly in possession of a weapon. This student was brought in immediately, questioned and a handgun was secured by the school SRO without incident. No threat was made towards students or staff at any time.
We will be following our Board of Education Weapons Policy. Derby High School families and staff were notified via Skylert.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Virginia is now the unanimous No. 1 in the AP Top 25, while Michigan made a big jump into the top 10 after winning the Big Ten Tournament title.
The Cavaliers earned all 65 first-place votes in Monday’s poll after finishing four games ahead of the field in the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season race. This was Virginia’s fourth straight week at No. 1, with the Cavaliers acquiring more first-place votes each time until claiming them all this week.
Villanova hopped over Xavier to reach No. 2. The Wildcats beat the Musketeers twice this season, though Xavier won the Big East regular-season race outright.
Michigan State, Duke, Gonzaga and Michigan followed. Michigan jumped eight spots after beating Michigan State and Purdue to win a second straight Big Ten title.
Wichita State remains ranked No. 11. The Shockers lost to Cincinnati 62-61 on Sunday. Meanwhile, Kansas fell to No. 9 after losing to Oklahoma State 82-64.RANK TEAM PV RANK 1 Virginia (65) 1 2 Villanova 4 3 Xavier 3 4 Michigan State 2 5 Duke 5 6 Gonzaga 7 7 Michigan 15 8 Cincinnati 10 9 Kansas 6 10 Purdue 8 11 Wichita State 11 12 North Carolina 9 13 Tennessee 16 14 Texas Tech 12 15 Arizona 19 16 Auburn 14 17 Ohio State 13 18 West Virginia 20 19 Clemson 18 20 Saint Mary’s (Cal) 22 21 Houston 25 22 Nevada 21 23 Florida – 24 Miami (FL) – 25 Rhode Island 17
BOISE, ID (KTVB) – A man who was once living with a rare and painful tumor on the right side of his face has now had a life-changing surgery.
Twenty-two-year-old Lucas McCulley’s tumor was removed during surgery in New York last October.
Today, he says he’s completely pain-free.
“It feels like I have got a new life, people that know me close say there’s a new shine to my personality and you can just tell a difference when I talk and am interacting. I’m happy feeling better and not in pain all the time,” said McCulley.
Doctor Gregory Levitin is the Director of Vascular Birthmarks and Malformations at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai. He says McCulley’s condition is not curable.
“This really was the most extreme case I have ever operated on. This is the type of condition he was born with and that he will have for the rest of his life. But the fortunate thing is that once you de-bulk or remove the majority of the tumor, there is just not that much left.”
Doctor Levitin says he’s confident the tumor won’t grow back, or at least the size it was before.
McCulley says he eventually wants to fulfill his dream of joining the military, but for now, he’s just trying to adjust to his new normal.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Prosecutors say a Kansas woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling millions of dollars from the credit union where she worked.
The U.S. attorney’s office said in a news release that Nita Rae Nirschl of Parsons was ordered Monday to pay more than $10 million in restitution.
The 66-year-old woman was an officer and employee at the Parsons Pittsburg Credit Union. She pleaded guilty in December to one count each of embezzlement, money laundering and tax evasion.
Prosecutors say she used the stolen money to buy a car, house and other items.
After an audit found the credit union was insolvent, it was placed in conservatorship and ultimately liquidated in March 2014.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Held one year ago, the 90th Academy Awards would have very likely been a rose-colored nostalgia fest.
But this year, with a culture-wide reckoning over decades of sexual misconduct, a film business in decline, a volatile political climate and the fact that last year the esteemed show couldn’t even manage to present its biggest award correctly, the film academy and host Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday staged a complex and sometimes incongruous dance of attempting to both honor and atone for the past.
In many ways, the show inside the Dolby Theatre went exactly as planned — scripted, tight, full of past-looking montages, forward-thinking speeches and produced to appeal to all. Presenters Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty got a best picture redo, (“What happened last year is Waterhouse under the bridge,” Kimmel quipped) and 86-year-old Rita Moreno got to wear her dress from the 1962 ceremony again.
The Walt Disney Co. sneaked a fair amount of promos (“A Wrinkle in Time,” and “Mary Poppins Returns”) and self-congratulations (for “Black Panther”) into its ABC broadcast and the production did its best to appeal to the “regular moviegoer” by trotting out Gal Gadot and other stars to literally give candy to a theater full of people.
The awards also effectively skirted the awkwardness of having an accused man in the spotlight by shifting around long-held presenter traditions and having Jodie Foster and Jennifer Lawrence present the best actress award instead of Casey Affleck. Emma Stone got her Natalie Portman moment , presenting the directing award to “four men and Greta Gerwig.” Activists like #MeToo creator Tarana Burke were included in a song segment. And three Harvey Weinstein accusers, Ashley Judd, Salma Hayek and Annabella Sciorra, were given a moment to themselves on stage for nothing more than the fact that they were brave enough to speak up before a hopeful video played highlighting a changing industry, post #MeToo and more diverse.
The video highlighted Greta Gerwig, the fifth woman to ever be nominated for best director, Yance Ford, the first transgender nominee for “Strong Island,” Dee Rees, whose “Mudbound” scored a historic cinematographer nomination and the Pakistan-born Kumail Nanjiani, nominated for “The Big Sick.”
The nominees signaled a renaissance. The winners told a slightly different story.
With a more diverse, more international and younger infusion of voting members into the film academy, the movie in love with movies still won the top awards. Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy romance “The Shape of Water,” won best picture, director, score and production design.
“Growing up in Mexico, I thought this could never happen,” del Toro said. “It happens.”
The acting awards, which have been locked for three months, went to the expected winners — all esteemed veterans and three of whom had never been nominated before: Frances McDormand won best actress for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and her co-star Sam Rockwell won for his supporting performance. Gary Oldman picked up the best actor prize for transforming into Winston Churchill in “Darkest Hour” and Allison Janney for becoming Tonya Harding’s mother in “I, Tonya.”
At 89, James Ivory became the oldest Oscar-winner for his adapted screenplay for “Call Me By Your Name.” And Christopher Nolan’s ambitious World War II nail-biter “Dunkirk” picked up three technical awards.
But Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” left empty handed, Rachel Morrison did not become the first female cinematography winner (the long-snubbed Roger Deakins got that honor finally for “Blade Runner 2049” after 14 nominations) and Ford was not the first transgender Oscar-winner.
There were glimpses of progress, in Chile’s “A Fantastic Woman,” which starred the transgender actress Daniela Vega, won best foreign film. Disney and Pixar’s celebration of Mexican culture, “Coco,” took best animated feature, as well as best song for “Remember Me.”
“The biggest thank you of all to the people of Mexico,” said director Lee Unkrich to loud applause. “Marginalized people deserve to feel like they belong. Representation matters.”
And Jordan Peele became the first African-American to win best original screenplay for his horror sensation “Get Out.”
Peele said he stopped writing it “20 times,” skeptical that it would ever get made.
“But I kept coming back to it because I knew if someone would let me make this movie, that people would hear it and people would see it,” said Peele. “So I want to dedicate this to all the people who raised my voice and let me make this movie.”
Even McDormand used her moment on stage to make a statement on behalf of women.
“If I may be so honored to have all the female nominees stand with me,” McDormand said.
“We all have stories to tell and projects we need financed,” she added, before uttering the phrase “inclusion rider,” referring to actors signing contracts that mandate a film’s gender and racial inclusivity.
Everyone seemed to take this moment of an industry in flux to heart.
“We can’t let bad behavior slide anymore,” said Kimmel at the show’s start. “The world is watching us.”
And indeed as the last show in this very long season, made even longer thanks to the Olympics, and with an unprecedented pressure to address all the ills of society and 90 years of movies it was perhaps always going to be too big a feat for one group of entertainers to tackle in a single nearly four-hour production.
There’s only so much they can do, after all, and there is no one like Kimmel to remind everyone that it is still the movie industry.
In an aside about the pay disparity between Mark Walhberg and Michelle Williams for “All the Money in the World” reshoots, Kimmel said upon discovering that both actors were represented by the same talent agency that, “This one shook me.”
“If we can’t trust agents, who can we trust?”
AP Film Writer Jake Coyle and writers Andrew Dalton, Nicole Evatt, Sandy Cohen and Kristin M. Hall contributed to this report.
For full coverage of awards season, visit: https://apnews.com/tag/AwardsSeason
Even by Kansas standards, it’ll be extremely windy today.
Early this morning wind gusts are in excess 35 MPH in Western Kansas. This is just a taste of what’s to come this afternoon.
Several weather alerts have been issued across Kansas due to the high winds. You can expected sustained winds of 20 to 45 MPH with gusts up to 65 MPH. Driving will be difficult, especially in high-profile vehicles. Blowing dust can also be expected in western Kansas. Make sure to secure any outdoor patio the next couple of days.
Temperatures drop slightly behind this cold front.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It has been 15 days since 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez was reported missing from his east Wichita home.
Since then, police and community members have searched multiple parks across Wichita, from Chapin to Chisholm, where most of the efforts have been focused.
Sunday they were joined by teams from outside Kansas.
Search teams from Missouri and Texas have stopped at locations throughout Wichita to find Lucas.
They said what keeps them going is hope that they will find him.
Early Sunday morning dozens of residents began to search.
“Everybody is scattered all over Wichita,” said Sheila Medlam, Colwich.
They say their goal is to find Lucas Hernandez.
Medlam says people looked in garbage bins, crawled under trees, and walked through fields to find him.
“Anything, anything and everything that could possibly lead us to Lucas,” said Lee Jarrell, Team Hope.
Residents were joined by a search group from Missouri and Texas EquuSearch who left for Wichita Friday to look for Lucas.
“Ground searches we brought some ATVs, we got people in from Ohio from our chapter in Ohio, from Kentucky, from Texas, we have members coming up from Oklahoma as we speak,” said Tim Miller, Texas EquuSearch
Medlam says she and others appreciate their help.
“These guys drove a long way to be here,” said Medlam.
That’s why she is working to get food and water to them while they’re in town helping find Lucas or anything that can help bring him home.
“I want Lucas found one way or the other so we can put closure to the community and to his family,” said Jarrell.
If you are interested in donating food or water to the Texas search team you can contact the ‘Finding Lucas Hernandez’ Facebook group and send them a message.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The family of Evan Brewer is asking for Department for Children and Families to change it’s policies to allow for more transparency and quicker response to allegations of abuse and neglect against children.
The family is speaking out after DCF released 284 pages of documents to KSN on Friday, detailing how the agency responded to allegations of abuse and neglect against 3-year-old Evan Brewer more than a year after his body was found encased in a concrete structure in his mother’s house she shared with her boyfriend. His mother, Miranda Miller, and her boyfriend, Stephen Bodine, are charged with Evan’s murder.
“It’s too late to care, honestly,” said Evan’s aunt, Carol Brewer. “It’s too late for Evan. Now it’s about these other kids and what we’re doing to help them.”
DCF met with Evan’s father and the family attorney Friday. They were handed him the same documents that KSN received. Those documents detail allegations that Evan’s mother and boyfriend were meth users and did little to care for Evan. There’s also a report that Evan was once choked out and had to be brought back to life by CPR. That report, made in May of 2017, never made it into the hands of a DCF supervisor. Also, the agency admits that after Evan’s death someone altered that record to make it look as if the case had been properly communicated.
The family said that DCF officials apologized and while they did accept, they say it is a systematic flaw that kept Evan from being saved and DCF is part of that problem.
“Any efforts that we make to cooperate with agencies or state entities going forward would be an effort to reform this system,” said family lawyer, Shayla Johnston. “So, whether its the development of Evan’s Safe Haven foundation, to facilitate better access to credible documents and experts to help families stay together or introducing communications directly with agencies to help them reform their own internal procedures, we need to see change.”
Carol Brewer recently traveled to Topeka to speak with state lawmakers and ask about changes to DCF policies, asking what it would take to make meaningful change.
“The issue is bigger than Evan. The issue is going on right now,” said Brewer. “Evan has left a blueprint and we’re going to make sure that other children aren’t done this way.”
Brewer says the only thing worse than loosing her nephew to the system, is watching other children and families go through the same thing. She tells KSN that she was happy to learn that DCF has made some internal changes in leadership and policies but she is concerned that those changes won’t be enough.
“You can get rid of everyone in that building if you want but if you don’t get out there and change some policies and procedures, nothing is going to change,” she explains.
Brewer says this will not be her last trip to Topeka. She is determined to fight on behalf of her nephew and all other children in need. The family is starting a non-profit to try to help families who need help, called Evan’s Safe Haven. The GoFundMe page has been created in an effort to assist families who are trying to save their children from abuse.
KSN reached out to DCF after receiving the documents for further clarification on the contents and ask specifically what changes the agency has made. Instead we were given the following statement from a communications official: “Given the family’s stated desire to move to litigation, we will not be in a position to further comment or clarify. We sincerely appreciate the family meeting with us, and as the Secretary vowed when she was appointed in December 2017, and during the conversation with this family, we will make needed changes.”
MAIZE, Kan. (KSNW) – The Mayor of Maize has passed away.
The City of Maize announced Saturday that Mayor Clair Donnelly passed away Saturday evening.
Officials with the city released the following statement:
It is with great sorrow that we announce the passing of Mayor Clair Donnelly who passed away this evening. Clair optimized the meaning of community spirit. He gave unselfishly as a volunteer to many different organizations and to the city of Maize. He took enormous pride in his family who has lost one of the best husbands, fathers, grandfathers, and great grandfathers a family could ask for. Please keep the family of Mayor Donnelly in your prayers. Clair was a wonderful man, mentor and boss who brought dignity to the Office of Mayor and was an inspiration to us all. Godspeed our friend. His footprints in Maize will be forever imprinted on our City.
Donnelly was 82 years old.
SELMA, Ala. (AP) — Several members of Congress joined civil rights activists and others Sunday afternoon for the annual commemoration of a day of racial violence in Selma dating to 1965.
A bipartisan group including Rep. John Lewis of Georgia led the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge. It was to recall “Bloody Sunday,” when voting rights protesters were attacked by police as they attempted to cross the bridge.
“It’s very meaningful to come back here, to come back to this historic site and be here with so many wonderful people. It’s a beautiful day here today in Selma,” Lewis said as he was surrounded by his peers, the Selma Times-Journal reported.
Lewis, then a young organizer, was among those injured then. That violence set the stage for the Selma-to-Montgomery march, which helped build support for congressional approval of the Voting Rights Act months later.
Sen. Kamala Harris from California, who spoke at the Martin and Coretta King Unity Breakfast, said she felt a mixture of emotions walking across the bridge.
“It’s bittersweet,” Harris said. “It’s sadness and pain at the thought of what they endured 53 years ago, but it’s also inspiration about again fighting for the best of who we are and honoring those who have been heroes and are still heroes.”
The annual celebration drew tens of thousands of people in 2015, when then-President Barack Obama spoke near the base of the bridge as former President George W. Bush listened.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Authorities have identified the man who fatally shot himself in front of the White House.
Police say it was 26-year-old Cameron Ross Burgess, recently of Maylene, Alabama, who approached the fence along the north side of the White House and fired several rounds from a handgun shortly before midday Saturday.
President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump were in Florida at the time, and the Secret Service says no member of the first family was at the White House then.
Authorities say none of the shots appeared to have been directed toward the White House.
Media outlet Al.com reported that an Auburn University spokesman told it that Burgess graduated from the school in 2013. The newspaper reports that state records for Burgess revealed no criminal history.
Did you feel it? A 4.2-magnitude earthquake struck near Enid, OK at 5:17 PM, and it shook many in Kansas!
If you didn’t feel the earthquake, then you most likely felt the winds today. They have been very significant yet again – gusting up to 50 mph, and keeping the fire danger very high.
We had a small chance for a spotty storm today, but unfortunately that has all been missing us to the southeast. We can’t rule out a stray shower in the eastern half of the state for the rest of the night, though. Keep an eye on the radar here: http://ksn.com/weather/interactive-radar/
A front will then pass through overnight, bringing clearing skies and cooling temperatures, but continued strong winds, just now out of the northwest.
So it won’t be as warm tomorrow despite the return of sunshine, but the winds aren’t going anywhere – this means that the fire danger will be CRITICAL all across Kansas, so please continue to be cautious!
The winds are so strong that we have advisories, watches, and warnings in place. Don’t worry too much about each one – just know that the winds will be EXTREME all across Kansas tomorrow AND Tuesday. We’re talking sustained at 20-45 mph, gusting up to 60-65 mph…YIKES. This means it will be difficult to drive, especially with high-profile vehicles, and blowing dust will likely reduce visibility, particularly in western Kansas.
Hang on to your hats for the next few days, folks! And I’ll let you know when we finally get some relief from our fire danger, tonight on KSN News at 10.
~Katie the Weather Lady
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The United States Geological Survey has confirmed an earthquake in Oklahoma.
Many viewers have called KSN saying they felt the tremble here in Wichita.
According to usgs.gov, the earthquake happened in north central Oklahoma around 5:15 p.m. near the town of Enid. It has been labeled a 4.2 magnitude earthquake.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has endorsed Democratic state Sen. Laura Kelly in the Kansas governor’s race.
Kelly touted the backing of Sebelius as the Kansas Democratic Party began an annual two-day convention Friday in Kelly’s hometown of Topeka.
Sebelius served as Kansas governor from 2003 until she became former President Barack Obama’s HHS secretary in April 2009. She remains influential in Democratic Party circles.
Kelly is part of an already crowded race for the Democratic nomination.
Rival Democratic candidate and former state Agriculture Secretary Joshua Svaty issued a statement saying it’s not surprising that Sebelius would endorse Kelly because they were neighbors for years in Topeka.
Svaty pointed to former Democratic Gov. John Carlin’s support for him. Carlin was governor from 1979 through 1986.