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Records: Slain boy told Missouri authorities about abuse

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 13:42

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — An emaciated boy whose father later killed him and fed his remains to the family’s pigs told Missouri authorities two years before his death that his dad and stepmother were abusing him, state records show.

Adrian Jones was 5 in July 2013 when he told a Missouri Children’s Division worker and a police officer that his father would kick him so hard on the back of his head that a “little bone come out,” according to agency records released this week to media outlets in response to an open records request. The boy’s remains were found in November 2015 on the family’s Kansas City, Kansas, rental property after officers responding to a report of domestic abuse learned the then-7-year-old boy was missing.

The boy’s father, Michael Jones, a 46-year-old bail bondsman, was sentenced Monday to life in prison for killing Adrian. Adrian’s stepmother, 31-year-old Heather Jones, is serving a life sentence after pleading guilty last year. Neither is eligible for parole for at least 25 years.

An attorney and spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services didn’t immediately return phone and email messages left by The Associated Press on Thursday seeking comment about the state records that show Adrian had reported being abused.

Adrian told a Missouri child-welfare case worker in mid-2013 that “daddy kicks me,” the records show. The boy added that his dad “keeps hitting me in the head and punches me in the stomach and mom keeps pulling on my ears and it really hurts.”

The Joneses “always lock me in my room. I have to sleep without a pillow and blanket,” the records quote Adrian as saying. He added that his stepmother “keeps being mean to me.”

Judy Conway, Adrian’s maternal grandmother, credited Missouri authorities Thursday for releasing the records but found them damning. “I just knew somehow that the system has failed Adrian,” she added.

“He even said it at times in his own words that he was being abused, and I don’t even know at this point how much they helped him and why the kids weren’t taken away,” Conway said. “I don’t care what child it is, if he says someone is hurting me I think someone should listen. At this time, I don’t know. I’m just so totally confused.”

Conway’s daughter, Dainna Pearce, lost custody of Adrian and two of his siblings years ago. Judy Conway has said she’s seen videos and digital photos from the Jones’ home that showed the abuse Adrian suffered in his life’s waning months, much of it chronicled by more than 30 security cameras set up throughout the home.

Conway has said the Joneses kept Adrian naked in a shower stall and modified it so he couldn’t get out. She said they sometimes strapped her grandson to an inversion table and that they made him stand in a swimming pool overnight, up to his neck in stagnant water. Conway said Heather Jones sometimes beat Adrian with the end of a broom handle and kept alarms on the family’s food so that he couldn’t take any when he was hungry.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families’ chief, Phyllis Gilmore, said last week that her agency last had contact with the family in early 2012. The department’s records involving Adrian remain under court-ordered seal.

Gilmore said that the family’s frequently alternating residency between Kansas and Missouri “greatly disrupted continuity of services and evaluation,” but she insisted Kansas child-welfare officials often shared information about Adrian “when known” with their Missouri counterparts.

Gilmore said her agency “thoroughly investigated” each reported incident of alleged abuse or neglect involving Adrian, though she did not divulge the number of cases or their context.

Lindsay Rein, a spokeswoman for the agency, didn’t immediately return a phone or email message Thursday from the AP.

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Several inches of rain cause flooding in northwest Kansas

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 12:51

GRINNELL, Kan. (KSNW) – Several inches of rain fell overnight in Gove County. In Grinnell, video from the Gove County Sheriff’s Department shows ditches and roads covered in water.

Several Kansas counties remain under a flood warning. They include Cheyenne, Wichita, Wallace, Thomas, Logan, Greeley, Sheridan, and Sherman counties.

Flooding has been reported across rural parts of the counties, with many county roads under water or washed out. Already two to five inches of rain has fallen. Additional rainfall amounts up to one inch are possible in the warned area through this afternoon.

For the latest weather radars, click here.

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Teen in custody for threats against Garden City High students and staff

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 12:38

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Garden City police said a 15-year-old boy was taken into custody Wednesday for threats against teachers and staff at Garden City High School. It is the third arrest in the last week.

Officers of the Garden City Police Department were made aware of reports of threats of violence towards students and staff of the Garden City High School through a teacher report to principals.

During the investigation, the boy was arrested for criminal threat. KSN is not naming him because he is a juvenile. He is in the Southwest Kansas Regional Juvenile Detention Center.

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Dodge City parents credit St. Jude for saving son’s life

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 12:03

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – At four months old, Andrew Mueting was diagnosed with osteopetrosis, a rare genetic condition.

“His bones just kept getting harder and harder and harder,” his mother Paula explained, “and eventually, kids with this condition usually die by the age of 10.”

Andrew is 12 now, thanks to a bone marrow transplant technique that was only available at St. Jude at the time.

“It was a research protocol that they were using where a parent was the donor,” said Paula, “and in his case especially, it was important to move fast to transplant to preserve the health that he had.”

It was a rough few months of treatment, but Paula will always remember the moment she first got to hold Andrew.

“It was Mother’s Day. My first Mother’s Day, and they, it was an ordeal, but they got him over into our arms and really, he did, he started to do a lot better.”

12 years later, the bone marrow he received from his dad Nick has held, effectively curing Andrew.

He’s legally blind, but that’s not holding him back.

“I’ve even gone undefeated five rounds in the quiz bowl and got first in my age group in the science fair,” said Andrew.

From their first St. Jude visit, the family felt at home, and not just because of the doctors and nurses.

“Custodian, security guards,” said Paula.

“Lunch ladies,” Nick added.

“Lunch ladies,” Paula agreed. “Every single person on that campus has a heart that is amazing.”

Returning for checkups is always positive.

“For us,” said Nick, “every time we go back to Memphis, every time we go to St. Jude, it’s essentially a homecoming.”

“It became his Disney World,” said Paula.

Now, the whole family gives back, regularly running in charity marathons, half marathons, and 5Ks.

“I’ve been there,” said Nick, “I’ve lived it, so it’s easy for me to go running for the kids of St. Jude.”

Nick and Paula say Andrew is doing “fantastic.”

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The Latest: FBI chief says Russia probe isn’t low priority

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 11:50

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the FBI (all times local):

11:51 a.m.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe disagrees with the White House suggestion that it’s a low priority of the FBI to investigate Russian interference in the election and potential Trump campaign collusion.

McCabe says it’s a “highly significant investigation,” contradicting statements made by the White House downplaying the significance. On Wednesday, White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it was “probably one of the smallest things” that the FBI has “got going on their plate.”

McCabe tells a Senate panel that he would not describe the investigation that way. Still, McCabe is declining to say exactly how many FBI personnel are involved in the investigation. McCabe says he can’t discuss that in a public setting.

___

11:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says ousted FBI Director James Comey told him three times that he was not under investigation, but the acting FBI director is telling Congress that’s not standard practice.

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins serves on the Senate intelligence committee. Collins asked acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe if the FBI typically tells people that they are not a target of investigation.

McCabe said he couldn’t comment on what Comey might or might not have told the president, but that it’s not standard practice to inform someone that they are not a target.

__

11:35 a.m.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe is contradicting the White House claim that fired director James Comey had lost the support of rank-and-file members of the bureau.

The White House used that assertion to justify Comey’s firing. But McCabe says the claim is not accurate. He says Comey “enjoyed broad support” within the agency and that he holds Comey in the “absolute highest regard.”

He says it was the “greatest privilege” of his career to serve under him.

___

11:30 a.m.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe has agreed to refrain from updating the White House about an investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election.

McCabe made the commitment under questioning Thursday at a Senate hearing.

He was made acting director Tuesday evening following the firing of director James Comey. Justice Department leaders are interviewing other contenders for the position.

McCabe earlier would not confirm President Donald Trump’s assertions that Comey had told him multiple times that he was not under investigation.

—This story has been corrected to show Trump asserted Comey told him he was not under investigation, restoring the dropped word “not.”

___

11:25 a.m.

Top Democrats want answers from the Justice Department about whether ousted FBI Director James Comey asked his superiors for additional resources to investigate Russia’s interference in last year’s elections.

Sens. Patrick Leahy and Jeanne Shaheen of the powerful Appropriations panel sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a letter asking for details. Rosenstein’s memo on Tuesday harshly criticizing Comey and recommended his dismissal.

Leahy and Shaheen want details about Comey’s request to his higher-ups at Justice on the Russia probe. They also want to know whether the White House or Congress was alerted to the request.

Vermont Democrat Leahy and New Hampshire Democrat Shaheen said that the FBI “should spare no expense in getting to the truth” about Russian interference in the campaign.

___

11 a.m.

Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe won’t confirm President Donald Trump’s account that fired director James Comey told him he wasn’t under investigation.

McCabe is testifying Thursday at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on national security threats.

The committee’s chairman, Rep. Richard Burr, asked McCabe if Comey had ever told Trump that he was not the subject of any investigation. In his letter Tuesday firing Comey, Trump said Comey had told him three times that he was not under investigation.

McCabe told Burr that he could not comment on any conversations between Trump and Comey.

___

10:48 a.m.

GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah says the next FBI director should be Merrick Garland — the federal judge nominated to the Supreme Court last year by President Barack Obama.

Garland never got a hearing due to Republican obstruction, and the high court vacancy was filled last month by Neil Gorsuch.

Lee says over Twitter that Garland could restore trust to the FBI after President Donald Trump fired Director James Comey.

Lee raised the idea directly to White House staff on Wednesday, according to an aide.

The proposal drew a positive reaction from one Democratic senator, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, who praised it over Twitter.

There would be an important side benefit for Trump: A vacancy on the critical D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals which Trump could then fill.

___

10:30 a.m.

The senior Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee is accusing the White House of not taking the investigation into Russia and the election seriously.

Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia says the firing of former FBI Director James Comey will in no way deter the committee from finding out the truth of what happened during the 2016 presidential election.

Warner said the timing of Comey’s dismissal by President Donald Trump is troubling.

He says Comey was scheduled to appear at Thursday’s hearing and that his absence cost the committee an opportunity to get at the truth, at least for a day.

___

7:10 a.m.

A spokeswoman for President Donald Trump is suggesting that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who wrote a memo justifying FBI Director James Comey’s firing, be selected to take over the Russia investigation.

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” show, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders calls Rosenstein a person “who sets the gold standard within the legal system.”

She also says “I am not aware” of reports he threatened to resign over the way the Comey dismissal was attributed in part to the memo he wrote. But Sanders also said the Trump White House isn’t trying to quash the investigation. “Any investigation that was taking place on Monday is still taking place today,” she said.

Democrats who are urging the naming of a special counsel argue this would be the best way to take politics out of the probe. Sanders said she thought Rosenstein, the No. 2 official at the Justice Department, was “a perfect example of what you would be looking for in terms of an independent person to come in and helm this investigation.”

___

3:05 a.m.

Days before he was fired by Donald Trump, FBI Director James Comey requested more resources to pursue his investigation into Russia’s election meddling and the possible involvement of Trump associates, U.S. officials say, fueling concerns that Trump was trying to undermine a probe that could threaten his presidency.

It was unclear whether word of the Comey request, put to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, ever made its way to Trump. But the revelation intensified the pressure on the White House from both political parties to explain the motives behind Comey’s stunning ouster.

Trump is the first president since Richard Nixon to fire a law enforcement official overseeing an investigation with ties to the White House. Democrats quickly accused Trump of using Comey’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation as a pretext and called for a special prosecutor into the Russia probe. Republican leaders brushed off the idea as unnecessary.

___

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Source: Kobach to lead voter fraud panel in Trump administration

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 10:02

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Thursday launching a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression in the U.S. election system. That’s according to three White House officials.

One official says Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will lead the commission, which will look at allegations of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration in states and nationally. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss details ahead of a formal announcement.

Trump has alleged, without evidence, that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in his 2016 campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The official says the panel will include Republicans and Democrats and include current and former state election officials.

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Suggestions for improving access in south Sedgwick Co. up for public comment again

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 07:20

SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Traffic access for south Sedgwick County has been identified as an issue over the last few years.

Currently, 95th Street South, a popular road that extends through both Derby and Haysville, is cut off where it meets the BNSF railroad and the Arkansas River.

The ARC95 Study looks at solutions to the problem that might also alleviate traffic in other areas of the southern Sedgwick County.

KSN talked with Dan Squires, Derby’s city engineer, about the proposed project and how it might help the community.

“The enthusiasm for the project has been strong,” Squires said. “People really see the need for the project.”

So far, two rounds of public meetings have been held to gather public input and feedback. Without that public interest, the project likely wouldn’t go forward, according to Jim Howell, Sedgwick County commissioner for District V.

But that’s not the case, he said. The public meetings have shown interest and growing support for solving the traffic issue.

Some suggested solutions include 95th Street going over or under K-15 and the BNSF railroad or a possible four-way intersection at the railroad before reaching a bridge over the Arkansas River.

Another suggestion involves the possibility of turnpike access at 95th Street.

As of right now, the ARC95 Study is still very much in the idea stage, Howell said. So far, there is no final cost solution.

“Something of that magnitude, it’s really important to be really thoughtful and scientific and analytical and let the public be a part of that discussion so that we can actually make the best decisions going forward,” Howell said.

A final round of public meetings kicks off Thursday night before developers take the feedback and look forward to solutions.

“This is, in my opinion, a very important step to kind of push this project into the next phase of fund development, how are we going to fund it, what grants are we going to go after, coordination with the Wichita Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (WAMP),” Howell said.

The final round of public meetings begin Thursday from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the Derby Public Library. Another meeting will take place Tuesday, May 16 from 5 – 6:30 p.m. at the Haysville Community Library.

“As the final meeting it’s really an opportunity to present to the public and other people what was found out,” Squires said. “Where all of the work in the previous meetings and the input that they provided, what they developed into and what the plan is moving forward.”

You can continue to leave feedback on the project here.

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KSN Threat Tracker for Thursday, May 11, 2017

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 01:03

12:29AM We continue to track widespread showers and storms across much of Kansas at this hour. While there still are a few places where we might see some dime to penny size hail and gusty winds, the real concern at this hour is the persistent heavy rain along and South of I-70 in Northwest Kansas. Flash Flood Warnings continue in a number of counties at this hour. Track the storms with our KSN Storm Tracker 3 Everywhere app.

12:10AM Grinnell, along I-70 in Northwest Kansas, has reported 4.11″ of rain and the storms continue. Watch for flash flooding and TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!

12:01AM We begin the day again with severe weather ongoing. While a couple have some potential for nickel to quarter size hail and 50-60mph wind, our greater concern is flash flooding due to persistent heavy rain. This is a big concern tonight in Northwest Kansas, especially along I-70 in Northern Gove County among other places. Remember radar anytime here on KSN.com.

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Kansas looking to recruit teachers, amid state budget concerns

Thu, 05/11/2017 - 00:43

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) The Kansas Department of Education released a series of YouTube videos Wednesday, as part of a marketing campaign to recruit more teachers in Kansas.

A year ago, Kansas Education Commissioner Randy Watson formed the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

It is made up of several teachers, human resources staff, superintendents, school board members, and a variety of others across the state.

USD 259 Board Member Betty Arnold is part of the task force.

“The task force came together with the idea of looking at ways that we could recruit new teachers, retain those teachers we have, but encourage people to go into teaching,” said Arnold.

Arnold says the constant budget struggles districts face makes recruiting teachers difficult.

“One thing hinges on the other, which hinges on the other and not knowing what we are going to have, it does make it difficult,” said Arnold.

Arnold says it also makes it harder to properly compensate the teachers they already have.

“There are states coming here recruiting our teachers that can offer them a better compensation package then we are able to offer,” said Arnold.

The new marketing campaign talks about all of the teaching opportunities available now in Kansas.

Wichita State University senior Ashley Hicks thought about leaving Kansas, but, decided to stay home.

“I was considering moving to the region of Dallas, I had opportunities there as well,” said Hicks.

Hicks graduates on Saturday and hopes other teachers will give Kansas a chance as well.

“Recruiting can work, but you have to recruit and also offer something as well,” said Hicks.

The last report from the Blue Ribbon Task Force in 2016 showed that the number of students graduating from the 25 teacher preparation programs in the state has been on a gradual four-year decline.

The report shows the numbers have decreased from nearly 23-hundred in 2011 to 19-hundred in 2014.

It also shows about a fourth of the teachers in the state, have less than five years of teaching experience.

KSN checked with USD 259 to see where they stand right now on the number of teachers they have.

Officials with the district say they have about four thousand teachers employed right now.

That number is subject to change over the next few weeks, due to retirements and whether some teachers decide to stay or leave the district.

USD 259 says the number of teacher vacancies they have is on par with this time last year.

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Vandals shred truck in Wichita, cause $14,000 in damage

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 21:40

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County authorities and residents are warning people to beware after a pair of vandalism cases have occurred in the same area of the city.

On Tuesday, KSN shared a story about a damaged memorial plaque located at the South Arkansas River Canoe Launch. On Wednesday, a viewer reached out to KSN saying he and his friend had fallen victim to vandalism at the same location.

“Honestly, I will probably never park down here again,” said Jeremy Smith.

Jeremy Smith and his friend Wes Albrecht said they were kayaking on the Arkansas River during the afternoon of May 6. Albrecht said he parked his truck in the canoe-launch lot near 71st and Grove Street. The pair returned to the lot after several hours on the water. However, they did not find Albrecht’s truck in the same state as they had left it.

“Found my truck vandalized, totally obliterated. All the windows were bashed out,” said Wes Albrecht. “They opened the hood, bashed all the fuse box, took a hatchet out of my truck and hit my truck with that.”

“Pretty much everything that could have been broken on the truck was damaged, every piece of glass, plastic, they even bashed stuff underneath the hood. It was remarkable how much damage they actually did to the vehicle,” Smith said.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said about $14,000 worth of damage was done to Albrecht’s truck.

“It really has taken my faith away in just being able to park your truck somewhere while you float down a river,” Smith said.

This isn’t the first vandalism case to occur at the canoe launch. On May 4, Misty Yardley made a report with Wichita police after she found her late brother’s memorial plaque had been damaged.

Albrecht and Smith said Yardley’s story prompted them to contact KSN.

“Just kind of felt like it was a pattern, that there might be a group of people where they come to destroy things and hopefully keep that from happening to anybody else,” Smith said.

The Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office said it’s unclear if the two vandalism cases are related. Officials said it’s also too early to say if the crimes were targeted or random.

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Bill would allow walking about with alcohol in hand

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 21:33

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A bill passed in the House and referred to a committee by the Senate would allow you to walk about in places like Old Town or other established “entertainment districts” with your drink in hand.

House bill 2277 is defined as: ‘AN ACT concerning alcoholic liquor; creating common consumption areas designated by cities and counties; authorizing common consumption area permits’. An example of a common consumption area would be Kansas City’s Power and Light District.

Temporary entertainment district permits are available to venues like Barleycorn’s, who used one for an outdoor music festival when they shut down Douglas from Mead to St. Francis streets.

“We had security, we spent money on security, spent money on extra personnel to help control the crowd and the event that was going on outside. So there was a large amount of personal investment on our side to make that happen,” Alex Thomas, co-owner of Barleycorn’s said.

Thomas sees potential in the bill, but thinks further logistics would need to be evaluated. For their outdoor music festival, they were the only bar on the block with a liquor license and thus solely responsible for the activities and profit-making going on outside.

“Any time you add multiple businesses into a scenario like that, you know, coordinating with those businesses, whose responsibility is it to control what’s happening outside the premise becomes a potential issue,” Thomas said.

The bill as it stands is vague in terms of how the established entertainment district would mark the border in which people could freely take their drinks within the common consumption area. Barleycorn’s used fencing, cones and physical barriers with their temporary entertainment district license.

“Our boundaries now are the front door to the back door, as it stands,” Thomas said.

A letter of support by Wichita mayor Jeff Longwell says “The City of Wichita continues to explore strategies to make downtown Wichita the most vibrant and appealing destination possible. To this end, we ask your support for Kansas House Bill 2277 that allows for the creation of common consumption areas for alcoholic liquor.”

More information regarding the bill can be found here.

 

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Community activists, WPD team up to keep youth from gangs

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 19:43

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says his department is seeing a rise in gang activity, and with summer right around the corner, the chief called a meeting with several community action programs.

“There’s not enough, there’s not enough of us right here. We need more of this right here,” says Love Your Community volunteer Angel Martinez.

Program coordinators came together on Tuesday to figure out how to help vulnerable kids.

Martinez says, “In that meeting today I saw a lot of really good people and a lot of passionate people.”

Paired with help from WPD, the goal is to cut down on gang activity and membership.

“When they are out on these streets they look up to some of these older gang members,” says a patrol officer.

Chief Gordon Ramsay is turning to his community for some help.

“It’s going to have to be a collective effort,” says Justin White, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club.

With uniformed cops and community organizations they’re working to plan more events to keep kids off the streets.

Angel Martinez knows the dangers of gangs and the power it has over young kids.

“I am an ex-gang member,” said Martinez.

From gangs to now dabbing with an officer’s daughter in the picture below, he says his faith and investment from mentors changed his life.

Now he is the president of Love Your Community and he coaches youth football.

He says this meeting is a huge step forward. Even just getting on the same email list as many of the other organizers.

“Up until now I think the problem was that nobody knew what was out there. And I think once we get together that we are going to do a lot of good for Wichita and we are going to make a big impact,” says Martinez.

An impact that can change a life like Chase Scott.

“I was told that the people you hang around is how you act. I didn’t believe it until I started acting that way,” says the high school senior.

After meeting his mentor and joining Rise Up for Youth, he’s getting ready for graduation tomorrow and will soon be playing college football.

Proof that as more programs are organized, more lives can be changed.

“It could be a huge change, it could be a huge impact on a young person’s life,” says Scott.

The group plans to meet again in two weeks. They plan to bring former gang members, and kids who have overcome difficult pasts, to tell their stories and share what they think can be done.

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Police, fire, expert witnesses talk about crash that took two lives last year

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 18:59

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Day two of the Bret Blevins manslaughter trial offered more of the same. Blevins is accused of more than a dozen crimes in a car crash that took two lives last May.

Wednesday, state prosecutors called several expert witnesses, while the defense continued to ask if there were any witnesses who saw Blevins driving the SUV that was involved in the fatal crash May 6,  2016.

Officers say a white SUV collided with a van carrying Starkey clients. Two of those clients died. Police and others testified on Wednesday that a man was seen fleeing the accident.

“I was sitting on my front steps smoking a cigarette,” says Jeffrey True, who lives about a block from where the accident occurred. “I heard an extremely loud crash and I looked up and I seen nothing but dust and tires on an SUV, rolling. And I ran out to the middle of the street.”

True was asked about his friend, Mike, who ran down the block to the accident. It was then, True recalled on the stand, that someone had left the accident scene.

“Mike yelled at me to stop that guy… he was the driver of the vehicle,” said True. “That person was pretty bloody in the head and the arm area. I didn’t get a good look at him until he came up to me and he was within three feet away from me. I told him he might just want to stop and wait and he said, no I just can’t do it.”

The state prosecutors also called a police officer to the stand. Officer Tristan Fellows talked about finding Blevins in a backyard not far from the crash site.

“I found him. I called for other officers to come and give me assistance. We were able to get him in custody,” said Fellows. “I told him to remain where he was and show me his hands and that kind of thing. When we were able to get the scene under control I noticed the smell of alcohol and his eyes appeared glazed, bloodshot and watery.”

As it did in day one or the trial, the defense maintained its line of questioning about Blevin’s girlfriend at the time, Tammy.

Blevin’s defense attorney Carl Maughan asked an EMS worker on the stand if he saw who was in the driver’s seat of that SUV after the crash.

“You couldn’t tell where Tammy was located at the time of the crash?” asked Maughan. “I could not,” said Chris Conover, Wichita Fire Department first responder.

The prosecution also brought in a toxicology lab scientist to talk about the results of a blood test done on Blevins. The state maintains there was alcohol and meth found in Blevin’s blood work.

The defense asked about the accuracy of the machines used in the testing of Blevin’s blood late Wednesday.

Jurors were dismissed for the day and the trial will resume Thursday morning.

 

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Father who lost his son shares thoughts on being an organ donor

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 18:47

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Last month David and Lynn Gilkey lost their 26-year-old son, Ryan Marks, to a K2 overdose. K2 is a synthetic marijuana laced with numerous chemicals. Some of the after effects include; increased heart rate, paranoia, hallucinations and for some, death.

“When you lose your child, you lose a part of you,” said David. “It’s completely different than losing a parent and if you haven’t lost a child, you will never know that pain.”

David and his wife are the founders of Rise Up For Youth; an organization that supports troubled kids in the community, so when they got the news that their own son was dead, they could not believe it.

“He started using it when he got locked up,” said David. “He was a  good kid and a great father, we begged him to stop but the addiction just took a hold of his life.”

“Some days are better than others but today, is not a good day,” said Lynn Gilkey who was not able to meet in person on Wednesday.

Two days after their son was pronounced dead, the Gilkey’s were contacted by a doctor who told them their son had signed up to be an organ donor. A month later they received 5 letters in the mail from Midwest Transplant Network stating that their son’s decision to be a donor, kept families together and saved lives.

“His heart, liver and kidneys were all used to grace multiple families with the blessing to see each other another day,” said David.

The Gilkey family is still mourning but they said the memory of Ryan lives on through many things, especially his decision to become a donor.

“I could’t believe the impact,” said David. “Ryan has always been a caring person, but this, this is huge for us as parents to know our son did not die in vain.”

“It’s bittersweet,” said Whitni Noyse, an RN with Midwest Transplant. “You see these parents that are so broken over the loss of their loved ones and then you see the family who is overcome with appreciation that their family gets the heart or liver or kidneys that they need to live.”

Noyse said one organ donor has the potential to save eight lives.

Those who wish to become an organ donor can sign up at the Department of Motor Vehicles or visit www.YesTheyWantMe.com.

“I’m okay with this today because if it wasn’t for my son I probably would have never really understood what it takes to be a donor,” said David.

Both David and his wife are organ donors and they say they plan  to spread the word to others about the impact they can have on someone’s life — even once they’re gone.

 

 

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Warm forecast causes crop worries in western Kansas

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 18:00

HEALY, Kan. (KSNW) —  A week ago, Vance Ehmke’s field was covered in a blanket of snow, and it caused his wheat to flatten.

Today is a different story.

“If you look at it, it looks like a beautiful field of wheat that could make 60-80 bushels an acre,” Ehmke said.

He explained that a plant growth hormone helped the wheat stand up.

Ehmke’s wheat is standing knee-high again, but don’t let that fool you. He said you have to take a closer look at the wheat to see the damage.

Ehmke pulled a plant out of the ground and pointed to the bottom of the wheat stem, where there are kinks and splits.

He said this isn’t great news.

“We’re just now going into our peak water needs,” Ehmke said.

With warm weather in the forecast, that’s not what farmers want. Ehmke said he’s concerned his wheat might die.

“It’s just kind of like trying to breathe with a piano wire around your neck,” he said. “You’re just not going to be able to get enough moisture and nutrients.”

According to Ehmke, farmers with damaged wheat are hoping for cool, wet weather. If that doesn’t happen, farmers could be looking at a yield loss close to 90 percent.

“We’ll just have to wait and see what happens,” he said.

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With the future of Century II up in the air, changes could be felt with Music Theatre Wichita

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 17:37

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The sky blue roof has been a part of the Wichita skyline for almost half a century, and now its future is up in the air.

The city announced this week that it wants to explore the possibility of giving a private developer control of Century II and the land around it.

For companies like Music Theatre Wichita, who work out of the building, the news is nerve racking.

“We’re able to build these full scale Broadway musicals here in Wichita,” explained Mitchell Southerland, Production Manager, MTW.

Underneath Century II, Music Theater Wichita is already preparing for its five summer musicals.

“So, many shows now a days coming in as a tour, we’re able to actually organically build from the ground up, involving our local high schoolers, and local talent from the colleges,” stated Southerland.

As the largest renter at Century II, new owners could change things for MTW.

“I’m nervous, cautious, because we have to have the shops. We have to have the stage. Everything is so important to us,” said Nancy Reeves, Company Manager, MTW.

Reeves has been a part of the not-for profit for almost thirty years, and has poured her heart into helping organize every production.

“I think there’s so much pride. And i usually see almost every performance of every show,” stated Reeves.

With a $4.1 million dollar budget, Artistic Director Wayne Bryan tells KSN 70 percent stays in Wichita.

“We hire as many local people as possible,” said Bryan.

Bryan says 300 jobs are created every year by the company.

Though Music Theater Wichita is open to change, they’re just hoping the show can continue to go on for many years to come.

“Changes need to happen in this building and we’re all behind that. We’re just hopeful that we don’t become an accidental casualty of somebody coming in and setting up a building without taking into consideration, we need shops,” explained Bryan.

The city is looking into several alternatives for Century II.

Developers are looking at revitalizing 30 acres of property owned by the city. That includes north of the Drury Hotel, to south of the Hyatt Regency Hotel. It also includes the site of the current library.

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Central Kansas adult dies of suspected meningitis

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 17:12

BARTON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – The Barton County Health Department and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment are collaborating with health care and other public health partners to investigate the death of a central Kansas adult due to meningitis.

BCHD said that while laboratory results are not final but the death is suspected to be caused by Neisseria meningitidis, which can cause severe and fatal cases of meningococcal meningitis. Meningococcal meningitis is an infection of the tissue that surrounds the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms for meningococcal meningitis are:

  • sudden onset of fever
  • headache
  • stiff neck
  • chills
  • unusually weak or tired
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • altered mental state
  • dark purple rash

BCHD is working to identify all persons at high risk of exposure to the individual and are actively providing recommendations for antibiotic prophylaxis. Currently, there is no evidence to suggest the general public is at an increased risk of developing meningitis. N. meningitidis is only spread from person-to-person by sharing throat or respiratory secretions (saliva or spit).  You must be in close contact with a sick person’s saliva or respiratory secretions in order for the bacteria to spread. Close contact can include being directly sneezed or coughed upon, kissing, sharing a water bottle, or sharing eating/drinking utensils.  It is not spread by casual contact or by simply breathing the air where a person with meningitis has been.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends post-exposure antibiotics for household, close, or intimate contacts during the 7 days prior to illness onset.  Healthcare professionals who had unprotected contact with the respiratory secretions will also receive post-exposure antibiotics.

If you are experiencing symptoms of meningococcal meningitis, immediately visit your primary care physician, an urgent care medical clinic or emergency room.

If you have any questions, please contact the Barton County Health Department at (620) 793-1902.

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KU police finish probe of alleged rape at athletes’ dorm

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 16:02

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – University of Kansas police have completed their investigation of a reported rape at a dorm for basketball players and other male students and sent their findings to the county prosecutor’s office.

Douglas County District Attorney spokeswoman Cheryl Wright Kunard said Wednesday that that office received the investigation but hadn’t decided whether to file any charges. She says the office won’t name any persons of interest.

A report from the university’s police department lists five current and former Kansas men’s basketball players and two women as witnesses.

Police found drug paraphernalia during a search of the dorms as part of the rape investigation. Former Jayhawk player Carlton Bragg was charged in Lawrence Municipal Court with misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia and later entered a diversion agreement .

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Hutchinson police looking for possible person of interest in shooting

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 15:38

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Hutchinson police are searching for 26-year-old Maique Rodriguez in connection to a shooting.

At around 1:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to the 700 block of East 7th. When officers arrived, they found the victim with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to a Wichita hospital with critical injuries.

Detectives are looking for Maique Rodriguez, also known as Miguel Rodriguez Faudoa, in connection to the case. He was last seen driving a blue single cab 2008 GMC Sierra with Kansas tag 934JZL.

If you see Rodriguez, do not approach him and contact 911. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Hutchinson Police Department at 620-694-2816 or 911.

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Victim involved in possible hit-and-run has died

Wed, 05/10/2017 - 15:19

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police are investigating a possible hit-and-run. Police said a call came in Wednesday just after 6:30 a.m. of a person down at 14th and Perry.

When authorities arrived, they found a woman lying the middle of the road. The woman was taken to the hospital and is listed in critical condition.

The Wichita Police Department said the woman was later pronounced dead at the hospital. They said the driver of the vehicle has been located and is being interviewed. They are not currently looking for anyone else involved in the accident.

The victim’s name has yet to be released.

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