Local KSN News
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Volunteer agencies, and local, state and federal government agencies will provide information and assistance through two Multi-Agency Resource Centers to Kansans affected by the recent grass fires.
One center will be set up at the Kansas State Fair grounds in Hutchinson and a second center will open at Ashland High School in Clark County.
The center in Hutchinson will open be Sunday, March 12, from 1 to 6 p.m.
The center in Ashland will be open Tuesday, March 14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Currently, there are no plans to operate the assistance centers beyond those dates.
PRATT, Kan. (KSNW) – Alex Deaton made his first court appearance Friday. It was a short hearing held in Pratt County
The judge read Deaton his charges. The charges include one count of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Riley Juel, a Pratt store clerk.Riley Juel, the clerk Alex Deaton is accused of shooting, was also in court with family and friends. (KSN Photo)
“That carries a maximum sentence of 653 months in the custody of the department of corrections, down to a minimum sentence of 147 months,” said Judge Francis Meisenheimer, Pratt County District Court.
Deaton is also charged with one count of aggravated robbery, one count of theft and one count of fleeing, and attempting to elude a police officer.
Deaton also accepted his right to court appointed counsel.
His preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 24 at 1:30 p.m.
Deaton is also suspected of other crimes in other states allegedly kidnapping two hikers in New Mexico, and killing his girlfriend and another woman in Mississippi.
Riley Juel, the clerk Deaton is accused of shooting, was also in court with family and friends. He was using a cane to walk, but seemed to be recovering.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Wichita State University has agreed to pay a $98,578 fine for mishandling hazardous wastes.
The university said Friday in a news release that its agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stems from violations found during an inspection in 2014. The problems were corrected that same year.
Those violations included failure to conduct a hazardous waste determination, operation of a hazardous waste facility without a permit and failure to meet disposal and used oil storage requirements.
As part of the agreement, Wichita State has also agreed to do environmental projects for the university and Wichita public schools.
The projects include the purchases of hazardous material computer inventory systems for the university and the local school district.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita Crime Stoppers needs help solving a business burglary.
On Sunday, March 5, before 8:30 p.m., a man carrying a black semiautomatic pistol entered the Subway in the 1000 block W Douglas.
He walked behind the counter and told the employee: “Put the money in a bag. This ain’t no game.” The employee gave him money from both cash registers and a compartment underneath the safe.
The money was placed in a plastic Subway bag. He also took a black wallet from a purse that an employee had left in the store. He left through the store.
The suspect is approximately 5-foot-8, with a heavy build. He was wearing black pants, a white shirt, a dark gray or black hooded sweatshirt, a black ski mask and black gloves.
This photograph of the suspect was taken from the store’s surveillance system.
If you have any information about this robbery case, call Crime Stoppers at 267-2111. You can also submit a tip from any PC or mobile browser by going to http://www.wichitasedgwickcountycrimestoppers.com/ or downloading our P3 app available on the ios and Android platforms.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – The Kansas Supreme Court has thrown out the life sentence of one of three men convicted in the 2009 killing of an 18-year-old woman initially left to die in a car’s trunk.
The court unanimously ordered Joseph Mattox’s resentencing after ruling Friday the trial judge – not a jury as required – found aggravated factors warranting the life sentence without parole possible for 50 years.
The Supreme Court upheld Mattox’s first-degree murder, kidnapping and robbery convictions involving the death of Keighley Alyea.
Friday’s ruling says Alyea was attacked and thrown into a car’s trunk before being assaulted again when she regained consciousness and began screaming. Her body was found a week later in Missouri’s Cass County.
An autopsy showed she’d been stabbed dozens of times, beaten and choked.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas appellate court says a man convicted of assault and weapons charges deserves a new trial because his trial judge fell asleep during testimony.
The Kansas City Star reports the Kansas Court of Appeals on Friday threw out Daquantrius Johnson’s 2014 convictions.
According to the ruling, a juror noticed that Sedgwick County District Judge Ben Burgess had fallen asleep and asked a bailiff whether Johnson could get a fair trial. The bailiff passed that comment on to Burgess, who later told jurors they alone would decide the case and that no attorneys indicated his nodding off affected his decisions.
Burgess asked Johnson’s attorney if he wanted to request a mistrial. That lawyer declined.
A message Friday with Burgess by The Associated Press wasn’t immediately returned.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – B-29 Doc has officially completed ‘phase one’ of its flight test operations. The Federal Aviation Administration approved a new airworthiness certificate for the historic warbird.
The “special airworthiness certificate” removes the flight limitation restrictions on distance and flight pattern. The FAA approval means Doc’s Friends, Inc. can begin touring with the airplane with reduced flight limitations.
“We’ve been working for the past several months with the Wichita FAA office, along with the FAA team in Washington, D.C., and we are pleased that we have satisfied the requirements for ‘phase one’ of flight test operations,” said Jim Murphy, Doc’s Friends Restoration Program Manager. “The FAA’s approval means we can begin the next phase of our restoration and flight operations plan, and that includes sharing our historic warbird with air shows around the United States.”
The 2017 B-29 Doc tour schedule will include multiple public events in at least six states. Information will be released online at www.b-29doc.com.
HARPER COUNTY, Okla. (KFOR) – Days after wildfires threatened R.A. Bentley’s family’s long-time home, buildings and cattle, it wasn’t easy for him to conjure up the willingness to survey some of the damage he witnessed first-hand Monday evening at his Harper County, Oklahoma farm.
“As soon as sun rose on Tuesday morning, it’s kind of like you’re anxious for the sun to get up,” said Bentley. “I haven’t even went in that barn.”
A new combine ready to go for his winter wheat crop, as well as everything else – gone.
“There’s the combine,” said Bentley. “My son was really excited to run it.”
Walking under the large metal structure – its roof support beams bent from the heat of the fire – the ground was covered in inches of soot and debris. The interior filled with remnants of farm equipment, from the run-of-the-mill tractors, to the sentimental.
“This was actually, this was a tractor of my granddads that I was trying to get to when the shed went up,” he said.
Bentley estimates the fire consumed roughly 1,000 acres of his land, threatened his brother’s home and destroyed his shed and equipment, with some things still smoldering inside.
“Oh, that sucker is still on fire, after Monday afternoon,” he said, trailing off.
The damage to his property – as well as dead cattle – is clear. But what’s not so clear is if the surviving 60-70 head of cattle will have any lingering effects from the fire.
“I’ve probably only lost seven or eight cows, and maybe ten or 12 baby calves, maybe more. A lot of those cows, it’s just like us. They have smoke inhalation,” he said. “Some of the cows, we may have to put them down.”
But Bentley isn’t looking at the past, but staying positive with what lies ahead.
“We’re pretty blessed, we’re a lot better off than a lot of other people were. We’re still all here and all this is just stuff. God gives us the opportunity to do it all and I’m just thankful to have the opportunity to be here. It’s not real fun right now. But guess what? It will be alright.”
HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – The Highlands fire in Hutchinson suspicious according to fire investigators and law enforcement.
Right now, the fire is 95 percent contained, and all evacuations have been lifted.
Residents were allowed back into the area Thursday afternoon and the area was reopened at 6 p.m. to the public.
Crews will work today to extinguish the remaining 5 percent. Firefighters continue to focus on 82nd Avenue & Plum Street diagonally NW to 95th Avenue & Monroe Street.
Per the local disaster declaration, open burning is not allowed.
If you discover damage to your property that has not previously been reported, please contact to the Hutchinson Fire Department at 620-694-2871.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Kansas Division of Emergency Management reports that the majority of grass fires is mostly contained.
The Kansas Division of Emergency Management reduced staffing in the State Emergency Operations Center to a partial activation level at 7 p.m. last night. It will remain staffed at this level until further notice.
On Thursday, Governor Sam Brownback signed Executive Order 17-01 to assist fire relief efforts throughout the state. The executive order facilitates the immediate delivery of large quantities of hay, feed, fencing materials, and other relief supplies by waiving certain motor carrier regulations.
The Kansas Livestock Association is working with private donors to provide hay for cattle in counties that suffered extensive loss of grazing lands and baled hay. Anyone wishing to donate to these efforts should contact KLA. Information is available on the KLA website.
Fire crews continue to work active fires in Clark County (70 percent contained), Comanche (90 percent contained), Ellis (98 percent contained), Reno (95 percent contained), and Rooks (97 percent contained).
Fire crews will continue to monitor all fires for hot spots and flare-ups. According to figures from local county officials across the state, the estimated total number of acres burned now stands at approximately 711,950 acres.
KDEM officials are reminding Kansans the potential for grass fire still exists in many areas of the state due to dry weather conditions.
The Kansas National Guard has two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with collapsible 660-gallon water buckets assisting ground fire crews in suppressing fires in Clark County. Two CH-47 Army Reserve Chinook helicopters and two fixed-wing aircraft from the U.S. Forestry Service have also been conducting water drop operations. Since these missions began, the aircraft have dropped approximately 263,410 gallons of water.
The Chinook helicopters and the fixed-wing aircraft will demobilize today. Two Black Hawks will remain in Clark County to assist ground crews.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police officer Brian Arterburn continues to recover. Arterburn was struck by a stolen vehicle on Feb. 7. He sustained injuries to his chest, abdomen, and brain.
On Friday, Wichita police said in a Facebook post that Brian is improving each day and will be going to rehab soon.
They add that Brian, his family, and police appreciate the community support and prayers.
EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) – Police in Emporia are investigating the shooting death of a 38-year-old woman in an apartment building.
The Emporia Gazette reports that Mahogany Brooks died at the scene of the shooting late Thursday near Emporia State University.
Police say a 30-year-old man was taken into custody for questioning.
The Gazette says Brooks’ death is first homicide in 25,000-resident Emporia since April 2013, when 25-year-old Adrian Peralta died five days after being shot. Gabino Ruiz-Ascencio later was convicted of first-degree murder in September 2015.
WASHINGTON (AP) — It’s time to change time again. Daylight saving time returns this weekend in the United States.
The short-term pain: Lose an hour of sleep Saturday night. The long-term gain: Enjoy more evening light in the months ahead, when the weather warms and you want to be outdoors.
Advance your clocks by 60 minutes before tucking in, so you’re not caught off-guard Sunday morning. For most of the U.S., the change officially starts Sunday at 2 a.m. local time.
You may want to install fresh batteries in smoke detectors and radios, and repeat that when standard time returns Nov. 5.
No time change is observed in Hawaii, most of Arizona, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam and the Northern Marianas.
10:45AM Brr… It still feels like it’s in the teens and 20s across the state this morning, and you’ll need that heavy jacket for the rest of the day!
6:00AM We’ll be about 25 or more degrees colder today and hopefully by tonight and tomorrow we’ll be able to get some rain and maybe even a little light snow in NC Kansas tonight and tomorrow. Any snow that does fall won’t accumulate but the moisture will be welcome.
5:00AM Much colder today with highs struggling to reach the lower 50’s and NE winds will increase making it feel even colder and increasing fire dangers across the state again. Over the weekend, though, in Wichita we actually have a good chance of some showers and storms which would help a great deal. That chance is going to start tonight and go through the day Saturday.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Barry Brown had 21 points, D.J. Johnson added 13 and Kansas State topped ninth-ranked Baylor 70-64 in the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday night, clinching not only a spot in the semifinals but most likely a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
It was the second time the sixth-seeded Wildcats (20-12) have beaten the Bears (25-7) this season, giving them precisely the kind of marquee victory that the selection committee favors.
They’ll get a chance for another against No. 11 West Virginia in Friday night’s semifinals.
The No. 3 seed Bears got within 64-60 on Al Freeman’s 3-pointer with 50 seconds to go, but they were forced to keep sending Brown to the foul line. The sophomore guard, who’s been mediocre there all season, made six of eight down the stretch to seal the Wildcats’ third straight win.
Freeman had 16 points to lead Baylor. Johnathan Motley and Manu Lecomte had 13 points apiece.
DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — A bit of fun for Ashland after a rough week.
“With everything that’s going on right now, it would really mean a lot for us to bring home a state championship,” said Ashland resident Gage Gardiner.
Ashland High School competed in the 1A Division II state quarter finals today.
Cheerleader Charlie Gibson lost her home in the fire and was grateful for the chance to unwind.
“It’s just a way to kind of get away from it for just a little bit and go support someone else and have a little bit of a change of scenery and then we can come back and kind of regroup,” she said.
She’s not the only one. The team’s coach is a Clark County rancher who lost most of his land and a third of his cattle.
“This community is going to bond together and help each other out through this adversity,” said coach Garth Gardiner.
It’s a feeling shared by area residents who went to Dodge City for the game.
“Traumatic, it’s been, but healing, too,” said Protection resident and Ashland fan Kim Hazen. “Tonight is the healing time.”
“They’re representing our community,” said Jamie Wetig, Ashland Public Schools Superintendent. “It’s an opportunity for them to play for more than just the state championship.”
Win or lose, Gardiner is proud of his team.
“I love every one of them like they’re my own kid and I wouldn’t trade them for anybody in the world.”
He says it will take years for them to heal, but for today, at least, they were able to relax.
Unfortunately for Ashland, their team did not win. They lost to Wallace County. Despite the loss, the community is happy for the chance to rally together and support their players.
RENO COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Evacuations in Hutchinson were lifted on Thursday giving dozens of families the opportunity to return home for the first time since the fires erupted.
The flames are out, the smoke is gone, but the miles of scorched land and destroyed homes remain.
“It was just glowing orange all around us and there was a moment where I stood in the driveway and I thought we are not going to get out of here,” said Miranda Boman.
Boman is a widow with six children. She was forced to evacuate her Hutchinson home on Monday after witnessing her neighbor’s house go up in flames.
“I watched it burn. I watched it just go down,” Boman said.
Boman said that image has not left her mind. She said it was still with her as she drove up to her house for the first time on Thursday since the evacuation.
“Wow, it looks like all my buildings are here,” Boman said as she got to her driveway.
However, Boman said it wasn’t the buildings she was worried about. She said she was worried about her three goats. The goats were a gift to Boman from her late husband.
At first glance, Boman said the goats were nowhere to be found, but then she heard one of them in the distance. She found all three goats safe and untouched by the fire.
“You know, you hang on to everything that you can and this is just the last little piece that I’ve been hanging onto and for them to be here and be OK, that’s God, that is God,” she said.
The flames destroyed Boman’s pasture narrowly missing her home.
“You can see it burned all the way up and around the pin there,” Boman said.
Boman said she is relieved to know she and her family can safely rest at home now.
“You pray and you pray and you pray and God listened, he sure enough did,” Boman said.
Click here to donate clothes, household goods, etc. to the fire victims.
SALINE COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – After three days of fighting fires and 12-hour shifts, Saline County fire crews are finally back home, but they’re still trying to recover from what some firefighters say was the toughest fire ever.
“Last night was actually my first night of full sleep, which was greatly appreciated,” said Fire Chief David Turner.
He took two crews out to Reno County on Sunday, then came home, only to get called back out again on Monday.
Fire crews spent almost seven hours monitoring hot spots, but weather conditions made that job even harder.
“It’s like a sandstorm,” said Turner. “So you have the sand hitting your face. It was pretty rough.”
On top of fighting the fire in Reno County, crews also spent another nine hours helping in Wilson. Turner said they were running off no sleep.
Even with little to no sleep, he said he knew he was helping out his fellow firefighters — but most importantly, his fellow Kansans.
“I know there’s a lot of people that lost a lot, and seeing that definitely puts a downer on some things,” he said. “But we try to make everything better and that’s what were down there for.”
The chief added that it was difficult seeing so much damage from the fire, but it was the community’s constant support for emergency crews that got them through the long days.
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – A judge says a Kansas man accused of plotting to attack Somali immigrants poses “a grave danger” to the community if released.
U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren on Thursday denied Patrick Stein’s request for release. Prosecutors say Stein was the leader of a militia group called The Crusaders.
Melgren says Stein is a flight risk and the evidence against him is significant. The judge also says Stein has expressed extreme hatred and threatened violence against Muslims, and sought to obtain weapons and explosives.
Prosecutors allege Stein and co-defendants Gavin Wright and Curtis Allen conspired to detonate truck bombs at a 100-unit apartment complex where Somali immigrants live in Garden City, Kansas.
The three have pleaded not guilty to conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction.
CLARK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback signed Executive Order 17-01 to assist fire relief efforts throughout the state. He signed the executive order in the Clark County Command Center. Yesterday, Governor Brownback visited the Hutchinson Command Center.
Executive order 17-01 facilitates the immediate delivery of large quantities of hay, feed, fencing materials, and other relief supplies by waiving certain motor carrier regulations. The full text of the executive order can be found here.
Governor Brownback declared a state of emergency on March 5, and fires have now burned more than 626,000 acres. This ranks as the largest fire event in state history.
“Together as a state, we stand with those who lost their homes, their livestock, and their barns,” said Governor Brownback. “As fires continue to sweep across our state, Kansans are standing shoulder to shoulder with their neighbors to deliver relief and support. Even as we continue the fight to contain and defeat these fires, this executive order assists and expedites the arrival of recovery supplies as our communities begin to rebuild in the wake of these wildfires.”
In Clark County, 85 percent of the county’s land mass has been burned.