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The spate of arrests, details of under-the-table bribes to teenagers and the downfall of one of the sport’s best-known coaches has triggered uncomfortable soul-searching among the institutions at the heart of college basketball, including internal reviews by more than two dozen schools of their own prominent programs.
At stake is the future of a business that, over the span of 22 years ending in 2032, will produce $19.6 billion in TV money for the NCAA Tournament, known to the public, simply, as March Madness.
The NCAA distributes those billions to its conferences and universities, and that figure doesn’t include the millions splashed around by shoe companies, who play an outsized role in the success of the programs and the careers of some of their top players.
More than two dozen universities with major hoops programs — including Louisville, where Hall of Fame coach Rick Pitino was fired Monday after 16 seasons — have responded to news of the sport’s bribery scandal by conducting internal reviews of their compliance operations.
The Associated Press asked 84 schools, including all the nation’s power programs, and six top conferences about their response to the arrests that upended college hoops mere days before practices for the 2017-18 season began around the country.
Of 64 schools that responded, 29 said the probe prompted their own internal reviews. So did the Pac-12 Conference, which formed a task force to dive into the culture and issues of recruiting.
Among the schools reviewing their programs are Arizona, Auburn, Oklahoma State and Southern California; each had assistant coaches arrested as part of the sting.
The list also includes Alabama, where a review led to the resignation of basketball administrator Kobie Baker but unearthed no NCAA violations, according to school officials.
A representative from one school, St. Johns, told AP the NCAA directed all Division I programs to examine their programs for potential rules violations after the federal complaints were filed. The NCAA declined to comment when asked about that specific directive.
But last week, the NCAAformed a fact-finding commission to be led by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, with results expected in April — right around the time the NCAA Tournament comes to an end.
“My only piece of advice (to young players), don’t let the process ruin you because we will. I blame myself,” said Tom Izzo of Michigan State, one of the schools conducting a review.
Izzo is convinced players’ circles grow too large as they near the big-time and fill up with too many people with different agendas.
But in an illustration of wide-ranging perceptions of the issue, Michigan State’s cross-state rival, Michigan, said it isn’t conducting an internal review and its coach, John Beilein, said “I don’t think the sky is falling in college basketball.”
“I think that there’s certainly some rogue coaches,” Beilein said. “How many? Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I can’t believe there’s too much of that going out there.”
Michigan, 34 other schools and the Big East Conference said they were not specifically responding to the federal probe. But many of the “no” responses came with the caveat that the school’s athletic department is always reviewing its compliance.
Four conferences and 20 schools declined to respond to the AP’s survey, including one university that declined to respond on the record but acknowledged privately that it was reviewing its program because of the probe.
The vast majority of schools surveyed have shoe deals with Nike, Adidas or Under Armour. A top Adidas marketing executive was among the 10 people arrested, after authorities spent two years untangling schemes, often bankrolled with money from the apparel companies, to steer future NBA players toward particular sports agents and financial advisers. No players were accused of doing anything illegal, but any recruits found taking any improper benefits could lose eligibility to play.
In many corners, the arrests have been portrayed as the government’s response to activities that have long been viewed as business-as-usual in big-time hoops — a long-awaited reckoning with problems the NCAA has been unwilling or unable to rein in.
An announcement Friday by the NCAA that a seven-year-long investigation into academic fraud at North Carolina would result in no sanctions for the Tar Heels did nothing to promote confidence in the body tasked with keeping its sports clean.
The AP also asked universities if they had been contacted by federal or state law enforcement. Only the schools involved in the federal complaints acknowledged being contacted.
That doesn’t mean more isn’t coming. Prosecutors have made clear the probe could widen in scope as the investigation continues.
“I’d say most people agree that this is the tip of the iceberg,” said John Tauer, the coach at St. Thomas in Minnesota, which has won two Division III titles this decade. “Over the next six months to a year, a lot more chips are going to fall, and you’d have to think that schools that aren’t diligent right now could end up paying dearly.”
Tauer, who doubles as a social psychology professor specializing in issues of sports in society, spends a lot of time wrestling with the NCAA rulebook. His task isn’t as high-stakes, though, because scholarship money and big-time shoe deals are essentially nonexistent in Division III.
“As an educator and a coach, you’re certainly disappointed but not shocked to know this kind of thing goes on,” Tauer said. “You hear rumors and stories of things that go on in the underworld of recruiting. You always hope they’re not true, but you probably know, deep down…”
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak told a story of losing a hard recruiting battle, and his initial reaction was “at least we didn’t cheat.”
He called it his heat-of-the-moment reaction, though he’s certainly not blind to the issues confronting his sport. When he arrived at Utah in 2011, his two guiding principles were: “We are never going to cheat,” and “We aren’t going to recruit any turds.”
“I wasn’t sure in my lifetime that we were going to see anything of this magnitude where the lid got blown off,” Krystkowiak said. “I was hopeful that at some point somebody’s going to pay the price. Now when you get the feds and the FBI involved, it takes it to a new level.”
Kansas coach Bill Self, whose school is among those conducting an internal review, said he harbors no illusions about what’s at stake.
“This is bigger than us just coming up with ideas, this is us coming up with ideas that can withhold all the headwind that’s going to be coming toward it,” Self said.
PRATT, Kan. (KSNW) – The man arrested in a multi-state March crime spree was sentenced in Pratt County District Court Monday.
Alex Deaton was sentenced to 155 months for the attempted murder of Riley Juel, a Pratt convenience store clerk on March 1. He was also sentenced 59 months for aggravated robbery. Back in July, Deaton pleaded guilty to attempted first-degree murder and aggravated robbery.
Deaton was arrested after leading law enforcement on a high-speed chase that ended in a fiery crash in Ellsworth County. He is also suspected of other crimes in other states, including carjacking a New Mexico couple and killing his girlfriend and another woman in Mississippi.
Pratt CountyAttorney Tracey Beverlin said she could not answer whether Deaton would be extradited and that would be up to the other states. Deaton’s attorney said he would likely serve the Kansas sentence first.
MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (KSNW) – McConnell held a ribbon cutting Monday to signify completing the preparation for the arrival of the KC-46 Pegasus.
Since 2014, there have been 16 projects to construct hangars for the KC-46A. The project was completed with 23 million pounds of steel and $267 million.
“Team McConnell is ready for the arrival of the KC-46A thanks to the phenomenal support we’ve received from our local community partners,” said Lt. Col. Mark Baran, KC-46 Program Integration Office chief. “Our whole team is excited about the bright future of McConnell AFB and the new capabilities the KC-46 will bring to the fight.”
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are set for an interesting meeting at the White House on Monday.
Trump blames the Kentucky Republican for the health overhaul failure. Trump hints at tantalizing deals with Democrats and watches his former strategist work from outside the administration to bulldoze the Republican establishment on Capitol Hill.
There will be a chill in the air when Trump, a public official since January, and McConnell, first elected to Congress in 1984, sit down for lunch.
“Mitch McConnell’s not our problem. Our problem is that we promised to repeal and replace Obamacare, and we failed. We promised to cut taxes and we have yet to do it,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a member of Congress since 1995. “If we’re successful, Mitch McConnell’s fine. If we’re not, we’re all in trouble. We lose our majority and I think President Trump will not get re-elected.”
Steve Bannon, back at Breitbart News after helping Trump win the presidency and serving in the West Wing, is committed to dumping McConnell, R-Ky. In a speech to religious conservatives Saturday, Bannon put on notice some of those incumbents who are at risk of a challenge from his flank of the party. He said the lawmakers possibly can avoid that wrath if they disavow McConnell and meet other conditions.
“This is our war,” Bannon said. “The establishment started it. …You all are gonna finish it.”
Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine moderate who just passed up a run for governor and was a pivotal “no” vote on health care, said Bannon’s rhetoric is exactly what the American people are tired of. “They don’t want this hyper-partisanship. They want us to work together. And they want us to get things done,” she said.
Collins, who’s served in the Senate since 1997, added that Bannon’s “over-the-top rhetoric is not helpful. Mitch McConnell is the Senate majority leader. The president needs him. I’m glad they’re working together on tax reform and a lot of other issues. And I’m glad they’re meeting this week.”
McConnell responded to Trump’s Twitter barrage after the failed health care effort by saying that the challenges of governing should come as no surprise.
“A lot of people look at all that and find it frustrating, messy. Well, welcome to the democratic process. That’s the way it is in our country,” McConnell said at a GOP event in Kentucky this summer.
Trump, a former Democrat himself, cut a deal with Democratic leaders on raising the U.S. borrowing limit and keeping the government running into the winter. The president has also talked about future arrangements, though his recent list of immigration demands soured Democrats who had seen an earlier opening for legislative progress.
Hard-right conservatives frustrated by the stalled agenda in Congress wrote in a letter last week during the Senate’s break that McConnell and his leadership team should step aside. The senators’ weeklong recess also drew criticism from the White House: “They’re on another vacation right now. I think that we would all be a lot better off if the Senate would stop taking vacations, and start staying here until we actually get some real things accomplished,” Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders had said.
Meanwhile, a McConnell-backed political committee spent millions to support Alabama Sen. Luther Strange in a recent primary election and Trump endorsed him, but Bannon-backed Roy Moore prevailed. Moore, a former judge, has defied federal court orders, described Islam as a false religion and called homosexuality evil.
Senate Republicans had been upbeat about adding to their 52-48 edge in the chamber, especially with Democrats defending more seats next year — 10 in states Trump won in last year’s presidential election. But the Bannon challenge could cost them, leaving incumbents on the losing end in primaries or GOP candidates roughed up for the general election.
“If we don’t cut taxes and we don’t eventually repeal and replace Obamacare, then we’re going to lose across the board in the House in 2018. And all of my colleagues running in primaries in 2018 will probably get beat. It will be the end of Mitch McConnell as we know it. So this is a symptom of a greater problem,” Graham said.
He added that Bannon “can’t beat us if we’re successful. And if we’re not successful, it doesn’t matter who tries to beat us, they’ll be successful.”
Collins spoke on ABC’s “This Week,” and Graham appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a Taliban captive for five years after abandoning his post in Afghanistan, pleaded guilty Monday to desertion and misbehavior-before-the-enemy charges that could put him in prison for life.
“I understand that leaving was against the law,” said Bergdahl, whose decision to walk off his remote post in Afghanistan in 2009 prompted intense search and recovery missions, during which some of his comrades were seriously wounded.
Bergdahl, 31, is accused of endangering his comrades by abandoning his post without authorization. He told a general after his release from five years in enemy hands that he did it with the intention of reaching other commanders and drawing attention to what he saw as problems with his unit.
The prosecution made no agreement to limit Bergdahl’s punishment in return for the soldier’s guilty pleas. The judge, Army Col. Judge Jeffery R. Nance, reminded Bergdahl that he could spend the rest of his life in prison, and asked him one last time if he wanted to plead guilty. “Yes,” Bergdahl replied, and the judge accepted the pleas.
Bergdahl may be hoping for leniency. Misbehavior carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while desertion is punishable by up to five years.
“At the time, I had no intention of causing search and recovery operations,” Bergdahl said, but he added that now he does understand that his decision prompted efforts to find him.
The guilty pleas bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl vanished in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama, who approved the Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home in 2014, said the U.S. does not leave its service members on the battlefield, but he was roundly criticized by Republicans.
Campaigning for president, Donald Trump repeatedly called Bergdahl a “dirty, rotten traitor” and suggested he deserved to be executed by firing squad or thrown out of a plane without a parachute. The defense said Trump unfairly swayed the case with this scathing criticism. The judge decided that Trump’s comments, though “disturbing and disappointing,” did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.
Berghdahl’s sentencing hearing is scheduled to begin Oct. 23. His years as a captive of the Taliban and its allies could be factored into his punishment, but the hearing also will likely feature damning testimony from his fellow service members. The judge has ruled that a Navy SEAL who suffered a career-ending leg wound and an Army National Guard sergeant whose head wound put him in a wheel chair would not have been hurt in firefights had they not been searching for Bergdahl.
Bergdahl, who’s from Hailey, Idaho, has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.
Follow Drew at http://www.twitter.com/jonldrew
PHILADEPHIA, Pa. (KSNW) – For the second consecutive year, Cincinnati has been tabbed as the favorite to win the 2017-18 American Athletic Conference men’s basketball regular-season title, in voting of the conference’s head coaches.
The Bearcats edged Wichita State as the preseason favorite with 116 points to the Shockers’ 115 in the balloting of the coaches, who could not vote for their own teams. Cincinnati received seven first-place votes, while Wichita State claimed the other five.
Wichita State returns 12 letterwinners – including all five starters – to a team that won 31 games in 2016-17. The Shockers will be competing in The American for the first time, joining the conference from the Missouri Valley.
The 2017-18 season tips on Friday, Nov. 10, while American Athletic Conference play opens on Wednesday, Dec. 27.
The 2018 American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship will take place March 8-11 at the Amway Center in Orlando, Fla.
FORT BRAGG, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on the court-martial of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who walked off his post in Afghanistan (all times local):
A military prosecutor says he has made no agreement to limit punishment for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl in return for the soldier’s guilty pleas to charges that he endangered comrades by walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009.
After Bergdahl entered guilty pleas to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, the prosecutor, Maj. Justin Oshana, told the judge that there’s no pretrial agreement between the two sides.
The judge, Army Col. Judge Jeffery R. Nance, spent Monday morning asking Bergdahl questions to make sure he understands what he’s pleading guilty to, and that his offenses carry a maximum punishment of life in prison. The judge asked him one last time if he wanted to plead guilty, and Bergdahl replied, “yes.”
Nance then told him that he accepted his pleas.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl told a military judge he’s pleading guilty to desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
His lawyer says the prosecution and defense have not agreed to a stipulation of facts in the case, which is an indication that they did not reach a deal to limit his punishment.
Bergdahl is charged with endangering his comrades by walking away from a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009.
He told the judge that he now understands that what he did caused others to search for him.
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is expected to plead guilty Monday to charges that he endangered comrades by walking away from a remote post in Afghanistan in 2009.
The U.S. Army said Bergdahl asked to enter his plea before the military judge at Fort Bragg. The Associated Press previously reported that he’s expected to plead guilty to charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy.
It’s not clear if Bergdahl, 31, has a deal with prosecutors to limit his punishment, or if he’s simply pleading guilty in hopes of leniency from the judge, Army Col. Jeffery R. Nance. The misbehavior charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, while the desertion charge is punishable by up to five years.
Guilty pleas would bring the highly politicized saga closer to an end eight years after Bergdahl’s disappearance in Afghanistan set off search missions by scores of his fellow service members. President Barack Obama was criticized by Republicans for the 2014 Taliban prisoner swap that brought Bergdahl home, while President Donald Trump harshly criticized Bergdahl on the campaign trail.
Meanwhile, serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl are expected to play a role in his sentencing. While guilty pleas would allow him to avoid a trial, he’d still face a sentencing hearing in late October. Bergdahl’s five years of captivity by the Taliban and its allies also will likely play a role in what punishment he receives.
Bergdahl’s lawyers are expected to reveal in court Monday whether there’s a plea agreement in place to cap his punishment, or if he’s pleading guilty without such a deal in what’s known colloquially as a “naked plea.” In either scenario, his punishment won’t be known until after the judge holds the sentencing hearing that’s expected to start on Oct. 23. Bergdahl, who’s from Hailey, Idaho, previously chose to have his case heard by a judge alone, rather than a jury.
Legal scholars have said that several pretrial rulings against the defense have given prosecutors leverage to pursue stiff punishment against Bergdahl. Perhaps most significant was the judge’s decision in June to allow evidence of serious wounds to service members who searched for Bergdahl at the sentencing phase. The judge ruled that a Navy SEAL and an Army National Guard sergeant wouldn’t have wound up in separate firefights that left them wounded if they hadn’t been searching for Bergdahl.
The defense also was rebuffed in an effort to prove President Donald Trump had unfairly swayed the case with scathing criticism of Bergdahl, including suggestions of harsh punishment. The judge wrote in a February ruling that Trump’s campaign-trail comments were “disturbing and disappointing” but did not constitute unlawful command influence by the soon-to-be commander in chief.
Defense attorneys have acknowledged that Bergdahl walked off his base without authorization. Bergdahl himself told a general during a preliminary investigation that he left intending to cause alarm and draw attention to what he saw as problems with his unit. He was soon captured.
But the defense team has argued that Bergdahl can’t be held responsible for a long chain of events that included many decisions by others on how to conduct the searches.
The military probe of Bergdahl began soon after he was freed from captivity on May 31, 2014, in exchange for five Taliban prisoners. Facing Republican criticism, Obama noted that the U.S. doesn’t leave its service members behind.
Bergdahl has been assigned to desk duty at a Texas Army base while his case unfolds.
Follow Drew at http://www.twitter.com/jonldrew
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Teams from 32 schools competed for top honors in the 19th annual Kansas BEST robotics competition this weekend.
The competition kicked off at Koch Arena Saturday where competitors vied for bragging rights for possessing the best robot.
A student KSN interviewed said seeing their creation do its thing was well worth the hard work.
“You’re cheering for your team, and it’s really cool whenever you see your creation out there doing something that you worked so hard to achieve,” said Taylor Munoz, participant.
This years theme was crossfire. Each team’s robot was tasked to perform three pretend life-saving actions, removing a person from a fire, removing hazardous materials, and extinguishing a fire.
DENVER (AP) — NBC play-by-play man Al Michaels has quickly apologized after making a joke about Harvey Weinstein during “Sunday Night Football.”
Michaels mused in the middle of the third quarter of the game between the New York Giants and Denver Broncos that the Giants were “coming off a worse week than Harvey Weinstein.” His on-air partner Cris Collinsworth replied with a laugh and told Michaels “only my L.A. guy comes up with that one.”
The comment got a negative reaction on social media and Michaels apologized in the fourth quarter for “being a little flip” with his reference to Weinstein, who faces sexual misconduct allegations. Michael added that “it was not meant in that matter.”
CBS late night host James Corden apologized earlier Sunday for Weinstein jokes made at an event in Los Angeles on Friday.
SANTA ROSA, Calif. (AP) — With the winds dying down, fire crews gained ground as they battled the wildfires that have devastated California wine country and other parts of the state over the past week, and thousands of people got the all-clear to return home.
While the danger from the deadliest, most destructive cluster of blazes in California history was far from over, the smoky skies started to clear in some places. People were being allowed to go back home in areas no longer in harm’s way, and the number of those under evacuation orders was down to 75,000 from nearly 100,000 the day before.
Many began to take the first steps toward rebuilding their lives.
“This is my home I’m going to come back without question,” said Howard Lasker, 56, who returned Sunday with his daughter to view their torched house in Santa Rosa. “I have to rebuild. I want to rebuild.”
The blazes were blamed for at least 40 deaths and destroyed some 5,700 homes and other structures. The death toll could climb as searchers dig through the ruins for people listed as missing. Hundreds were unaccounted for, though authorities said many of them are probably safe but haven’t let anyone know.
In hard-hit Sonoma County, Sheriff Rob Giordano said authorities have located 1,560 of the more than 1,700 once listed as missing. Many of those names were put on the list after people called from out of state to say they couldn’t reach a friend or relative.
Authorities said they will not let people return home until it is safe and utilities are restored. Pacific Gas and Electric Company said it expects to restore power and gas to the area by late Monday.
Many evacuees grew increasingly impatient to go home — or at least find out whether their homes were spared. Others were reluctant to go back or to look for another place to live.
Juan Hernandez, who escaped with his family from his apartment Oct. 9 before it burned down, still had his car packed and ready to go in case the fires flared up again and threatened his sister’s house, where they have been staying in Santa Rosa.
“Every day we keep hearing sirens at night, alarms,” Hernandez said. “We’re scared. When you see the fire close to your house, you’re scared.”
At the Sonoma fairgrounds, evacuees watched the San Francisco 49ers play the Redskins on television, received treatment from a chiropractor and got free haircuts.
Michael Estrada, who owns a barber shop in neighboring Marin County but grew up in one of the Santa Rosa neighborhoods hit hard by the blazes, brought his combs, clippers and scissors and displayed his barbering license in case anyone doubted his credentials.
“I’m not saving lives,” he said. “I’m just here to make somebody’s day feel better, make them feel normal.”
Lois Krier, 86, said it was hard to sleep on a cot in the shelter with people snoring and dogs barking through the night.
She and her husband, William Krier, 89, were anxious to get home, but after being evacuated for a second time in a week Saturday, they didn’t want to risk having to leave again.
“We’re cautious,” she said. “We want to be safe.”
Nearly 11,000 firefighters were still battling 15 fires burning across a 100-mile swath of the state.
In the wooded mountains east of Santa Rosa, where a mandatory evacuation remained in place, a large plume of white smoke rose high in the sky as firefighters tried to prevent the fire from burning into a retirement community and advancing onto the floor of Sonoma Valley, known for its wineries.
Houses that had benefited from repeated helicopter water drops were still standing as smoke blew across surrounding ridges. A deer crossed the highway from a burned-out area and wandered into a vineyard not reached by the flames.
Those who were allowed back into gutted neighborhoods returned to assess the damage and, perhaps, see if anything was salvageable.
Jack Daniels had recently completed a year-long remodel of his Napa house near the Silverado Country Club and watched it go up in flames last week as he, his wife, 7-year-old grandson and two pugs backed out of the driveway.
His neighbors, Charles Rippey, 100, and his wife, Sara, 98, were the oldest victims identified so far in the wildfires.
Daniels, 74, a wine importer and exporter, said he lost everything left behind, including his wife’s jewelry and 3,000 bottles of wine in his cellar.
“It’s heartbreaking,” the 74-year-old said. “This was going to be our last house. I guess we’ve got one more move. But we’re fortunate. We got away. Most things can be replaced. The bank didn’t burn down.”
Melley reported from San Francisco. Associated Press writers Ellen Knickmeyer in Santa Rosa and Janie Har and Daisy Nguyen in San Francisco contributed to this report.
Follow the AP’s complete wildfire coverage here: https://apnews.com/tag/Wildfires
Off to a clear and beautiful start to your work week… Clear skies and light winds this morning mean it’s a chilly start. Radar is quiet this morning as well and it will be quiet much of the week! Temps are chilly across the state and it is finally feeling like fall in Kansas!!
While we are starting off kind of chilly, a light southerly breeze will warm us up nicely.
Loads of sunshine state wide mean today is a Cinderella forecast… Not too hot, and not too cold… It’s going to feel just right!!
If you like today you are going to love what lies ahead for us! Fantastic Fall days are lined up all the way through the work week!
NEWTON, Kan. (KSNW) – Newton Police are searching for a suspect after a shooting left one person injured Sunday night.
They tell us is happened around 8:30 p.m. in the 400 block of Normandy.
It was there officers say a homeowner saw someone trying to steal a car.
After confronting the man, police say the victim was shot several times and the suspect ran away.
Newton Police believe the suspect is armed and dangerous.
People who live in the area are urged to stay inside their homes. Any who sees suspicious activity is asked to call 911.
We have a crew on the way to the scene. Stay with us as we continue to follow this story.
Stormy conditions yesterday gave way to pleasant weather this Sunday. We’re putting it on cruise control this week and it’s going to feel more like October.
Starry skies and light winds can be expected tonight. Dress warm as you head out the door Monday morning with temperatures starting off in the 30s and 40s.Kansas Tonight
Patchy frost can be expected for areas along and north of I-70 by morning.Frost Advisory
Beautiful fall weather continues this week as temperatures warm into the 70s under sunny skies each day.Next 3 Days
The one thing that is lacking from the work week forecast is the chance for rain. Some storms are possible by the weekend time frame. I’ll have your forecast this evening on KSN News! – Laura Bannon
SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – An accomplice in a murder that shook Wichita is up for parole this week, and the family of the victim and thousands of others are hoping he stays behind bars.
Donald Wacker accompanied Doil Lane as he abducted 9-year-old Nancy Shoemaker on her way to the store in south Wichita in 1990. Shoemaker was then sexually assaulted and murdered. Her remains were not found until seven months later outside of Mulvane.
Lane is serving a lengthy sentence in Texas for a similar crime but Wacker is up for parole, again.
“Every time they’ve had a parole hearing, we’ve been here for it. Whether we lived here or traveled back and forth and as long as they have them, we’ll be there for it,” Bo Shoemaker, Nancy’s father said Sunday.
Bo, his wife Julie and their son Jay reside in Florida now but were in the congregation at Grace Baptist Church on Sunday. It’s where they sought solace years ago following Nancy’s heinous death.
“Through the church, it’s given us the support that we need, the love that we need…to see the petition shows that there’s a lot of people that remember and a lot of people that still want justice,” Julie, Nancy’s stepmother said.
Petitions were available on Sunday at church for people to show the parole board how strongly they feel against Wacker’s parole. Multiple petitions have collected thousands of signatures.
A memorial playground for Nancy sits behind the church. The family says, it’s one of the ways they’ve kept Nancy’s legacy alive. Another way is ensuring another child doesn’t suffer a similar fate.
“We do not want another family, child to go through that,” Bo Shoemaker said.
Wacker’s parole hearing is set for Wednesday, October 18, at 10 a.m. in the Derby Police and Courts building. The outcome will take probably 30 days to be announced.
The Shoemakers acknowledge that Wacker’s family will also be in attendance.
“They’re going to love and support their son the way everybody would. I’m not going to hate them for wanting him out no more than they should (us) for wanting him in,” Bo said.
Petitions are available at Docuplex, Salon Knotty, Master Wok (West Central), Davis Moore Dodge and Grace Baptist Church.
McPherson, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s not everyday police officers move a small herd of cows.
Officers got that chance on Sunday morning, after 911 got calls of cows on the streets of McPherson.
“We are waiting to hear from the owner of the cattle,” said Executive Sgt. and public information officer Mark Brinck with the McPherson Police Department.
Brinck confirmed officers were dispatched to the report of several cattle loose in McPherson in the 500 block of West Avenue A. He also confirms officers used patrol cars to herd the cattle west on Avenue A and across the Highway 81 bypass.
The cattle eventually were moved to airport where officers say they were happily grazing and off the streets.
WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A police chase that started in Haysville ended with a rollover crash in south Wichita.
It happened around 12:30 p.m. just south of the intersection of Pawnee and Broadway.
WPD assisted officers from Haysville as the suspect drove into Wichita on Broadway.
“It tried to go around the spikes, hit the curb, and flipped over,” said Sgt. Scott Moon, Wichita Police Department. “No one was injured.”
Sgt. Moon says Haysville PD did take one person into custody. The identity of that suspect and details on how the chase started have not been released at this time.
KSN has reached out to officials in Haysville for answers. Stay with us as we continue to follow this story.
MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) — The most powerful bomb blast ever witnessed in Somalia’s capital killed at least 231 people with more than 275 injured, a senator said Sunday, making it the deadliest single attack in this Horn of Africa nation. The toll could continue to rise.
Abshir Abdi Ahmed cited doctors at overwhelmed hospitals he visited in Mogadishu a day after a truck bomb targeted a crowded street near key government ministries, including foreign affairs. Many of the bodies in mortuaries had not yet been identified, he said.
As angry protesters gathered near the scene of the attack, Somalia’s government blamed the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremist group for what it called a “national disaster.” However, Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital, had yet to comment.
Al-Shabab earlier this year vowed to step up attacks after both the Trump administration and Somalia’s recently elected president announced new military efforts against the group.
The Mogadishu bombing is one of the deadliest attacks in sub-Saharan Africa, larger than the Garissa University attack in Kenya in 2015 and the U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.
Doctors at Mogadishu hospitals struggled to assist badly wounded victims, many burned beyond recognition. “This is really horrendous, unlike any other time in the past,” said Dr. Mohamed Yusuf, the director of Medina hospital.
Inside, bleary-eyed nurses transported a man whose legs had been blown off. He waited as surgeons attended to another badly injured patient. Exhausted doctors struggled to keep their eyes open, while screams from victims and newly bereaved families echoed through the halls.
“Nearly all of the wounded victims have serious wounds,” said nurse Samir Abdi. “Unspeakable horrors.” The smell of blood was strong.
A teary-eyed Hawo Yusuf looked at her husband’s badly burned body. “He may die waiting,” she said. “We need help.”
Ambulance sirens echoed across the city as bewildered families wandered in the rubble of buildings, looking for missing relatives. “In our 10 year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” the Aamin Ambulance service tweeted.
Grief overwhelmed many.
“There’s nothing I can say. We have lost everything,” wept Zainab Sharif, a mother of four who lost her husband. She sat outside a hospital where he was pronounced dead after hours of efforts by doctors to save him.
The country’s Somali-American leader, President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of mourning and joined thousands of people who responded to a desperate plea by hospitals to donate blood. “I am appealing all Somali people to come forward and donate,” he said.
Mogadishu, a city long accustomed to deadly bombings by al-Shabab, was stunned by the force of Saturday’s blast. The explosion shattered hopes of recovery in an impoverished country left fragile by decades of conflict, and it again raised doubts over the government’s ability to secure the seaside city of more than 2 million people.
“They don’t care about the lives of Somali people, mothers, fathers and children,” Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire said of the attackers. “They have targeted the most populated area in Mogadishu, killing only civilians.”
Rescue workers searched for survivors trapped under the rubble of the largely destroyed Safari Hotel, which is close to Somalia’s foreign ministry. The explosion blew off metal gates and blast walls erected outside the hotel.
The United States condemned the bombing, saying “such cowardly attacks reinvigorate the commitment of the United States to assist our Somali and African Union partners to combat the scourge of terrorism.” It tweeted a photo of its charge d’affaires in Somalia donating blood.
But the U.S. Africa Command said U.S. forces had not been asked to provide aid. A spokesman told The Associated Press that first responders and local enforcement would handle the response and “the U.S. would offer assistance if and when a request was made.”
The U.S. military has stepped up drone strikes and other efforts this year against al-Shabab, which is also fighting the Somali military and over 20,000 African Union forces in the country.
The United Nations special envoy to Somalia called the attack “revolting,” saying an unprecedented number of civilians had been killed. Michael Keating said the U.N. and African Union were supporting the Somali government’s response with “logistical support, medical supplies and expertise.”
The spokesman for U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the attack and urged all Somalis to unite against extremism and work together to build a “functional” federal state.
Saturday’s blast occurred two days after the head of the U.S. Africa Command was in Mogadishu to meet with Somalia’s president, and two days after the country’s defense minister and army chief resigned for undisclosed reasons.
Amid the chaos, the stories of victims began to emerge. Amino Ahmed said one of her friends, a female medical student, was killed on the eve of her graduation. The explosion also killed a couple returning from a hospital after having their first child, said Dahir Amin Jesow, a Somali lawmaker.
“It’s a dark day for us,” he said.
Associated Press video journalist Mohamed Sheikh Nor in Mogadishu, Somalia contributed.
TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas has a record number of candidates for the early stages of its 2018 governor’s race.
Even high school students are joining the elected officials and prominent business figures voters would normally expect.
Eighteen candidates have appointed treasurers or committees for a campaign next year, a requirement to raise money. There are 11 Republicans, six Democrats and an independent.
More are likely. The Libertarian Party is expected to have a nominee, and another independent candidate may get into the race.
But no women are running yet.
Still, the current number of candidates tops the previous record of 16 on the primary and general election ballots in 1964. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback is term-limited but is expected to step down this fall anyway to become U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Saturday afternoon the Topeka Fire Department responded to a fire at Coachlight Village, a mobile home park.
When crews arrived they found heavy smoke and flames coming from the mobile home.
After putting out the fire, crews found no one was inside.
A preliminary investigation determines the fire was caused by a lighting strike.
The total estimated loss is valued at $17,000.
SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — They fled in fear nearly a week ago. Now they’re ready to go back.
While wildfires are still burning powerfully in parts of Northern California, some of the tens of thousands of evacuees are getting antsy to return to homes that aren’t under immediate threat. Others want to see if they still have homes to return to.
But authorities are staying cautious in the face of blazes that have now killed at least 40 people and destroyed at least 5,700 homes.
“We’re on pins and needles,” Travis Oglesby, who evacuated from his home in Santa Rosa, said to Sonoma County Sheriff Robert Giordano on Saturday. “We’re hearing about looting.”
Although some evacuees were returning home in Mendocino County, the latest estimates were that about 100,000 people were under evacuation orders as the fires burned for a sixth day.
Plans were in the works to reopen communities, but they were not ready to be put into effect, said Dave Teter, a deputy director with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
Douglas and Marian Taylor stood outside their apartment complex Saturday in Santa Rosa with their two dogs and a sign that said “End evacuation now.”
Their building was unharmed at the edge of the evacuation zone with a police barricade set up across the street. The couple said they are spending about $300 per day to rent a motel and eat out, and they want to return home because the fire does not appear to threaten their home.
At an evacuation center at the fairgrounds in the Sonoma County city of Petaluma, volunteers sorted through mounds of donated baby wipes, diapers, pillows, shoes and clothing.
Randy Chiado and his wife, Barbara, evacuated Monday from the Oakmont section of Santa Rosa. They stayed for several days with a friend in Santa Rosa but left Saturday when flames approached again and sought refuge at the fairgrounds.
“After so many times of ‘It’s coming, get ready. It’s coming, get ready,’ it just gets nerve-wracking,” Barbara Chiado said.
Life away from home has been difficult and dangerous. Randy Chiado said a man who may have suspected he was a looter tried to punch him through his car window and yelled for a friend to get a gun when the Chiados turned onto a residential street. He said he was able to push the man off and drive away.
The couple planned to spend the night with other evacuees in a room set up with cots. “It’s like jail,” he said.
Hundreds of people remain unaccounted for, though officials think they’ll locate most of them alive.
Most of the deceased are believed to have died late on Oct. 8 or early Oct. 9, when the fires exploded and took people by surprise in the dead of night. Most of the victims were elderly, though they ranged in age from 14 to 100.
“It’s a horror that no one could have imagined,” Gov. Jerry Brown said, after driving past hundreds of “totally destroyed” homes with Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris.
From the sky, large subdivisions that burned to the ground looked like black and white photos. Each neatly outlined lot is full of ashen rubble. Cars are burned a darker gray. Trees still standing are charred black. Only streets look unscathed.
Brown, 79, and Feinstein, 84, said the fires were the worst of their lifetimes. The two veteran politicians reminded people that the blazes remain a threat and that people need to leave their homes when told to go.
No causes have been determined for the fires, though power lines downed by winds are seen as a possibility.
In all, 17 large fires still burned across the northern part of the state, with more than 10,000 firefighters attacking the flames using air tankers, helicopters and more than 1,000 fire engines.
Signs posted in Sonoma thanked the firefighters. One declared them “heroes among us.”