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The origins of 4/20, marijuana’s high holiday

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 08:48

SEATTLE (AP) — Thursday marks marijuana culture’s high holiday, 4/20, when college students gather — at 4:20 p.m. — in clouds of smoke on campus quads and when pot shops in legal weed states thank their customers with discounts.

This year’s edition provides an occasion for pot activists to reflect on how far their movement has come, with recreational pot now allowed in eight states and the nation’s capital, as well as a changed national political climate that could threaten to slow or undermine their cause.

Here’s a look at the holiday’s history.

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WHY 4/20?

The origins of the date, and the term “420” generally, were long murky. Some claimed it referred to a police code for marijuana possession or that it arose from Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women No. 12 & 35,” with its refrain of “Everybody must get stoned” — 420 being the product of 12 times 35.

But in recent years, a consensus has emerged around the most credible explanation: that it started with a group of bell-bottomed buddies from San Rafael High School in California, who called themselves “the Waldos.” A friend’s brother was afraid of getting busted for a patch of cannabis he was growing in the woods at Point Reyes, so he drew a map and gave the teens permission to harvest the crop, the story goes.

During fall 1971, at 4:20 p.m., just after classes and football practice, the group would meet up at the school’s statue of chemist Louis Pasteur, smoke a joint and head out to search for the weed patch. They never did find it, but their private lexicon — “420 Louie,” and later just “420” — would take on a life of its own.

The Waldos saved postmarked letters and other artifacts from the 1970s referencing “420,” which they now keep in a bank vault, and when the Oxford English Dictionary added the term last month it cited some of those documents as the entry’s earliest recorded uses .

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HOW DID ‘420’ SPREAD?

A brother of one of the Waldos was a close friend of Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh, as Lesh once confirmed in an interview with the Huffington Post. The Waldos began hanging out in the band’s circle, and the slang spread.

Fast-forward to the early 1990s: Steve Bloom, a reporter for the cannabis magazine High Times, was at a Dead show when he was handed a flier urging people to “meet at 4:20 on 4/20 for 420-ing in Marin County at the Bolinas Ridge sunset spot on Mt. Tamalpais.” High Times published it.

“It’s a phenomenon,” said one of the Waldos, Steve Capper, now 62 and a chief executive at a payroll financing company in San Francisco. “Most things die within a couple years, but this just goes on and on. It’s not like someday somebody’s going to say, ‘OK, Cannabis New Year’s is on June 23rd now.'”

Bloom, now the editor in chief of Freedom Leaf Magazine, notes that while the Waldos came up with the term, the people who made the flier — and effectively turned 4/20 into a holiday — remain unknown.

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HOW IS IT CELEBRATED?

With weed, naturally. Some of the celebrations are bigger than others; Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park typically draws thousands. In Seattle, the organizers of the annual Hempfest event are anticipating about 250 people at a private party. Some pot shops are offering discounts or hosting block parties.

College quads and statehouse lawns are also known for drawing 4/20 celebrants, with the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus historically among the largest gatherings — though not so much since administrators started closing off the campus several years ago. Generally, 4/20 events in Colorado have dropped off significantly since the state legalized recreational use in 2012.

Some breweries make 4/20 themed beers — including SweetWater Brewing in Atlanta, whose founders attended CU-Boulder. Lagunitas Brewing in Petaluma, California, releases its “Waldos’ Special Ale” every year on 4/20 in honoring of the term’s coiners; it’s billed as “the dankest and hoppiest beer ever brewed at Lagunitas.”

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THE POLITICS

This year’s 4/20 follows successful legalization campaigns in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts, which join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as states that allow recreational marijuana. More than half the states allow medical marijuana.

But it remains illegal under federal law. Attorney General Jeff Sessions this month ordered a review of marijuana policy to see how it may conflict with the President Donald Trump’s crime-fighting agenda, and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly recently called marijuana “a potentially dangerous gateway drug that frequently leads to the use of harder drugs.” That’s a view long held by drug warriors despite scant evidence for its validity.

Sixty percent of adults support legalizing marijuana, according to a Gallup poll last fall, and two-thirds of respondents in a Yahoo/Marist poll released this week said marijuana is safer than opioids.

Undermining regulatory schemes in legal pot states could prompt a backlash that would hasten the end of federal prohibition, said Vivian McPeak, a founder of Seattle’s Hempfest.

“We’re looking at an attorney general who wants to bring America back into the 1980s in terms of drug policy,” McPeak said. “I’m skeptical they can put the cannabis genie back into the bottle.”

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

McPeak says 4/20 these days is “half celebration and half call to action.”

For the Waldos, who remain close friends, it signifies above all else a good time, Capper says.

“We’re not political. We’re jokesters,” he said. “But there was a time that we can’t forget, when it was secret, furtive. … The energy of the time was more charged, more exciting in a certain way.

“I’m not saying that’s all good — it’s not good they were putting people in jail,” he added. “You wouldn’t want to go back there. Of course not.”

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Associated Press writers Kristen Wyatt in Denver and Sadie Gurman in Washington, D.C., contributed.

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Follow Gene Johnson at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle .

Categories: Local News

GM halts operations in Venezuela after factory is seized

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 08:36

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors has stopped doing business in Venezuela after authorities took control of its only factory there in what GM called an illegal judicial seizure of its assets.

The plant was confiscated on Wednesday as anti-government protesters clashed with authorities in a country that is roiling in economic troubles such as food shortages and triple-digit inflation.

The Detroit automaker said in a statement Thursday that other assets such as vehicles were taken from the plant, causing irreparable damage to the company.

GM says the plant was taken in disregard of its right to due process. The company says it will defend itself legally and that it’s confident that justice eventually will prevail.

GM has about 2,700 workers in the troubled country, where it’s been the market leader for over 35 years. It also has 79 dealers that employ 3,900 people, and its parts suppliers make up more than half of Venezuela’s auto parts market, the company said.

If the government permits it, workers will get separation benefits “arising from the termination of employment relationships due to causes beyond the parties’ control,” the GM statement said.

Dealers will continue to service vehicles and provide parts, the company said.

GM’s Venezuelan operations have been a drag on earnings for several years. In the second quarter of 2015, the company took a $720 million charge for currency devaluation and asset valuation write-downs as the economy faltered.

South American operations, which include Venezuela, account for a relatively small portion of GM’s earnings and sales. Last year the company lost $400 million before taxes in South America, but as a whole the company made a pretax profit of $12.5 billion. GM sold just over 583,000 vehicles in the region last year, but that was only about 6 percent of its total sales.

In its 2016 fourth-quarter earnings release, the company said that its South America region “remains challenged from macro-economic and political standpoints.”

Companies have been cutting operations in Venezuela as a result of runaway inflation and strict currency controls. Last May, tire maker Bridgestone sold its business there after six decades of operating in the country.

Bridgestone joined other foreign multinationals including Halliburton, Ford Motor and Procter & Gamble who have either slowed or abandoned their investments in Venezuela.

Shares of General Motors Co. rose slightly in premarket trading.

Categories: Local News

KSN Threat Tracker for Thursday, April 20, 2017

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 05:39

5AM A few lingering spotty showers this morning, but today will be a break overall before storm chances return tonight. While Leon’s on vacation, I’ve got your full forecast all morning on Kansas Today!

Categories: Local News

District VI advisory board unanimously votes on senior complex in Riverside

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:07

WICHITA, Kan (KSNW) – It was the biggest turnout for a District VI Advisory Board in Janet Miller’s tenure as vice mayor.

Over 150 people came to the District VI Advisory Board meeting on Wednesday evening to determine the possible fate of a 60-unit senior living apartment complex at 13th and Bitting. The board voted unanimously to not give a recommendation on the complex to city council.

“I’m happy with the outcome,” midtown resident Kent Williams said.

Williams was one of 20 speakers who signed up to speak at the meeting. He opposed the idea of the senior living complex. Some had issues with the aesthetic of the complex, some were afraid it would drive out local businesses, others just had problems with one of the developers.

“I also appreciate the developers listening to the concerns of the neighborhood and making sure he wasn’t interested in fighting,” Williams said.

Williams is speaking about Rob Snyder, one of the developers with Central Plains Development. Snyder has incurred some housing violations while being a landlord on various properties throughout the city. A former tenant of his came to speak out against the complex.

“I just don’t want any taxpayer money going to someone who under the guise of providing affordable housing, they’re cutting the cost by not providing quality housing,” former tenant, now Riverside resident Tyler Grubbs said.

At the podium, Snyder cited a market study saying senior housing was needed in the area, which was answered with laughter from those opposing the complex

“I’m old, Im tired, I’m not going to fight a whole community for something like this. It’s not worth it,” Snyder said at the podium.

The votes were advisory, not binding, meaning the board will tell city council the overwhelming opinion by the residents in the area, but the process can still move forward.

Categories: Local News

Wanted: Roger Donald Walker

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 01:05

Roger is wanted by the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office for AGGRAVATED BATTERY CHARGES. He was last known to live in the Wichita, Kansas area.

Anyone with information on the location of this person or any other wanted person or about ANY CRIME is urged to contact the Sedgwick County Sheriffs Office at 1.800.874.6449 Wichita-Sedgwick County Crime Stoppers at 316.267.2111 or 911 or texting at CRIMES(274637) and enter TIP217 plus your message.

Name: Roger Donald Walker
Born: 1958
Ht/Wt: 5′ 11″ – 175 lbs.
Other:
White Male
Gray hair / Green eyes
Tattoo Right Shoulder, Hand; Tattoo Left Shoulder, Arm

To see more felons, or submit an anonymous tip, visit the
Crime Stoppers of Wichita/Sedgwick County website

Categories: Local News

Rugby’s popularity in Wichita

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:32

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita Rugby Football Club has been in Wichita since the 1970s. Decades later, the sport is becoming more popular. Currently, there’s a men’s team, a women’s team, and the youth team.

The men’s team, named the Barbarians, won the national championship back in 2015. Over the weekend, the fellas locked up the number one seed for the playoffs, by defeating Arkansas.

 

 

 

Categories: Local News

Bishop Carroll baseball tops Kapaun Mt. Carmel 6-5

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:25

Bishop Carroll and Kapaun Mt. Carmel baseball went back and forth all night long in West Wichita. In the end, it was the Golden Eagles who ended up with the big 6-5 win.

Bishop Carroll led for most of the game, but Kapaun rallied late to tie the game at 5 and force extra innings. In the ninth inning, AJ Peters came up with the walkoff base hit for Bishop Carroll.

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Donnie Jones joins WSU basketball as assistant coach

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:07

WICHITA, Kan. – Wichita State has hired veteran Donnie Jones to fill its men’s basketball assistant coaching vacancy, head coach Gregg Marshall announced Wednesday.

Jones, 50, worked as a college scout for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers during the 2016-17 season. Prior to that, he spent nine years as a Division I head coach, first at Marshall University (2007-10) and most recently at the University of Central Florida (2010-16).

Jones launched his coaching career with 19 years as an assistant, including 13 under current Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan. The pair led Florida to consecutive national championships in 2006 and 2007, along with a national runner-up finish in 2000.

Marshall said: “I’ve known Donnie for over 20 years. He’s not only one of the great coaches, but one of the great people in our business. We have talked about potentially working together for many years. He will bring his wonderful family to Wichita and will quickly become a strong, active member of our community. From his nine years of head coaching experience at the Division I level to his back-to-back national championships that he was a part of as an assistant coach, we are getting a very qualified, professional college basketball coach.”

“I look forward to joining the Shocker family,” Jones said, “and to continuing the winning tradition that Coach Marshall and his staff have built there.”

Jones has had a hand in the recruitment and development of 13 NBA Draft picks, most recently seven-footer, Hassan Whiteside, who led the NCAA in blocks during his lone season at Marshall. Currently a member of the Miami Heat, Whiteside was the NBA’s 2016 blocks leader and captured the league’s rebounding crown in 2017.

In addition, Jones signed Tacko Fall – the American Athletic Conference’s 2017 Defensive Player of the Year – as part of his final UCF recruiting class.

Jones also excelled on the recruiting trail as an assistant. During his 11 years at Florida (1996-2007), the program signed 11 McDonald’s High School All-America selections and boasted top-five national recruiting classes on five occasions. Following Florida’s second national title in 2007, five of Jones’ pupils — Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford, Joakim Noah and Chris Richard – were selected in the draft.

The Point Pleasant, W.Va. native is married to the former Michelle Gibson. The couple has three children: Madisyn Michelle, Sophie Louise and Donald Isaac.

Categories: Local News

Future of passenger rail service in Kansas in doubt

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:02

NEWTON, Kan. – –   The future of passenger rail in Kansas is in doubt.

President Donald trump is proposing to slash the Department of Transportation’s funding by $2.4 billion.

The closest Amtrak station is just north of Wichita in Newton.

Lifelong Newton resident Emily Anderson says she just got back from a trip to Chicago last Friday, riding Amtrak out of the station in Newton.

“I find it to be a great, inexpensive way to travel, my sister and I probably wouldn’t have gone to Chicago had we not had a cheaper option,” said Anderson.

Newton Mayor Barth Hague says his town serves as the biggest passenger rail service for Amtrak in the state.

“Just in terms of passenger volume we have about 14,000 passengers who come through here each year,” said Hague.

Hague the economic impact is probably about three million dollars or so that Amtrak generates from the state of Kansas.

However, that is in Jeopardy.

President Trump’s proposal would cut the Department of Transportation budget by 13 percent.

“If that budget proposal was adopted it would essentially end service to the state of Kansas on Amtrak,” said Hague.

Hague says he kept a watchful eye on the proposal.

He says it could negatively impact his town and many other communities in Kansas.

Hague says many communities in Kansas fought for 28 million dollars in grant money over the past few years to make rail improvements along the Southwest Chief.

“Hutchinson, Garden City, Dodge City and even into eastern Colorado, La Junta, Trinidad, you know we worked with them on TIGER grants to improve the line and we fought together with those communities,” said Hague.

For those who use the train, like Anderson, she says it would be a big blow to the community if it eventually had to shut down.

“I think it would do a disservice, I think we’d lose a lot of culture that comes with having the train station here,” said Anderson.

Hague says he’s holding out hope that Congress will ultimately make, what he calls, the right decision and not let passenger rail service be lost for good.

 

Categories: Local News

Wichita State baseball defeats Kansas

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 00:00

WICHITA,Kan. – Six Wichita State pitchers combined for the four-hit shutout to defeat Kansas, 8-0.

Keylan Killgore threw 4.1 innings allowing just one hit with three walks and six strikeouts.

Connor Lungwitz earned his first win of the year, pitching 0.2 innings with no hits.

Greyson Jenista went 3-for-5 with three singles and three runs scored. Jordan Boyer was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.

Wichita State got on the board first in the third inning. After a leadoff single by Gunnar Troutwine, Boyer followed with a hit-by-pitch. A fielder’s choice by Jenista put runners on first and third with one out. Alec Bohm delivered with a two-out, two RBI single through the middle to give the Shockers a 2-0 lead.

The Shockers added one more in the fifth to extend the lead to 3-0. After back-to-back one-out singles by Jenista and Luke Ritter, Willie Schwanke hit a two-out RBI single to right-center for the Shockers.

Schwanke led off the eighth for the Shockers with a single and Dayton Dugas followed with a bunt single to third base to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a fielder’s choice bunt by Jackson, Noah Croft hit a two-out RBI single to left field to make the score 4-0. Boyer followed with a two-RBI double to left field to extend the lead to 6-0. After Jenista reached on a throwing error allowing Boyer to score, Travis Young hit a RBI single to make the score 8-0.

The Shockers are next in action on Fri., April 21 at Missouri State at 6:30 p.m.

 

Categories: Local News

Wichita State softball splits doubleheader with Missouri State

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 23:24

WICHITA, Kan. – With the only runs of the day being scored on two-run home runs, the Wichita State softball team split two games against Missouri State on Wednesday night at Wilkins Stadium, falling in game one 4-0 and winning game two, 4-0.

Katie Malone started game one, throwing all seven innings and allowing four runs on nine hits, but received her ninth loss of the year.

Missouri State struck first on a two-run home run just over the left field wall from Elena Gambill for the first home run of the season.

After going scoreless for the next two innings, the Bears added two more runs on another two-run home run from Mary Stephens to give Missouri State the 4-0 win in game one.

Jenni Brooks started game two and threw another complete game, as she allowed only three hits and zero runs to receive her third win of the year.

In the fourth, it was the Shockers’ turn to score on home runs as Ashley Johnson reached on a walk and Mackenzie Wright then drove a ball over the left field wall to give WSU a 2-0 lead. Kelli Spring then followed with a single to keep the inning going. McKenzie Wright then smashed a ball to the left-center gap that cleared the wall for the first home run of her career to extend the lead to 4-0.

The Bears then went down in order for the next two innings to give Wichita State the 4-0 win.

The Shockers are now 27-15 overall and 12-5 in MVC play and will travel to Carbondale, Ill., for a three-game series against Southern Illinois on Saturday at noon.

Categories: Local News

Wichita bus drivers participate in national safety survey

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 22:54

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Wichita school district participated in a national school bus illegal passing survey on Wednesday.

The goal of the survey is to determine the prevalence of illegal passing of school buses, so state officials can help improve safety countermeasures.

KSN followed along a Wichita school bus driver on Wednesday to find out what they are up against on a daily basis. For bus driver Kim Levens, safety is the number one priority.

“I don’t even have a word to describe how important it is. You have somebody else’s children on this bus that you are responsible for,” Levens said.

Levens, who is also a school bus trainer, said she is responsible for the students when they are on her bus as well as when the kids are getting picked up and dropped off.

“If you think you can take this lackadaisically and think well, you know, oh well, no! How are you going to look yourself in the mirror if one of them gets hurt based on something you did or didn’t do,” Levens said.

Levens drives a bus route in south Wichita. She said it’s common for drivers to ignore her stop sign especially when she drops kids off along Hydraulic Street.

“Just this morning I wrote up five stop-arm violations and that’s a daily thing for me,” she said. “People, they are just not paying attention. They are distracted. We live in a very busy world today and we are either on our phones, we are talking to people in the car, maybe we are doing business in the car, on a computer, and we are just not 100 percent focused into driving.”

KSN followed Levens on her Wednesday afternoon bus route and witnessed multiple cars ignore her flashing lights and bus stop arms.

“That’s scary to me. To think we might have to call a parent to say their child got ran over,” Levens said.

Levens said she has signals worked out with her riders so they know when it is safe to exit the bus, cross the street, etc. She said she will do just about anything to make sure her kids get to and from school safely because to her, the students are her family and the reason she does her job.

“The kids make it. Especially the little kids, the elementary kids, that makes your job worth it,” she said.

Wichita bus drivers logged nearly 450 bus stop violations during the one-day survey in 2016. Drivers will turn Wednesday’s results into the state, so officials can continue to track and study the issue in hopes of finding new ways to educate drivers.

Categories: Local News

Man injured when gust of wind blows car off I-135

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 21:11

MCPHERSON COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A car traveling on I-135 was blown off the highway near Mounridge, Kan. Wednesday afternoon. The incident occurred around 3:10 p.m. near exit 46 as the vehicle was traveling southbound.

The Kansas Highway Patrol said a 2009 Ford Fusion driven by a 26-year-old Salina man struck a milepost sign and came to rest in the median. The car then continued southbound about one half mile before the driver pulled over and stopped on the shoulder. He was later taken to the Newton Medical Center. The extent of his injuries are unknown.

 

Categories: Local News

Harper County Commission considering county wide budget cuts

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 20:07

Budget cuts could happen next year for all departments across the board in Harper County.

County commissioners say during a tough financial climate they are looking at ways they can save.

But, the sheriff’s office in Anthony is worried about the impact of another budget cut

Undersheriff Tom Burns says, “By reducing a deputy, the workload didn’t reduce itself accordingly.”

Since the Harper County Sheriff’s Office cut a deputy position in January, Undersheriff Tom Burns says, like many other law enforcement agencies, they’re understaffed

Burns says, “To make up for that less people are going to have to work more hours.”

A deputy is on call and in the field 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Usually, one works the morning-afternoon shift and another works the evening shift. It used to be two on the evening shift.

Now, with the potential of more budget cuts coming in the next fiscal year, he and the sheriff are worried they’ll have to cut a position, they say, they simply can’t do without: A detention deputy.

“Right now we only have one person working. If you cut a position, we don’t have enough people to always have one person in there,” says Burns.

Justin Carey was on shift today. He is one of five detention deputies the sheriff’s office has.

More often than not, it’s one detention deputy per shift.

Carey says, “It gets a little stressful.”

On most days Carey is dealing with 17-22 inmates, by himself. He and the undersheriff say all it takes is a little bit of chaos in the jail to prove just how short staffed the sheriff’s office is. They say if a fight breaks out in a jail cell, the detention deputy must call in at least one more deputy in before he or she can enter the cell and break the fight up. Often times it is a deputy on the street who is called in. They say you never know how long it will take the deputy to get there, and it also leaves them shorthanded in the field.

But county commissioners say this is a difficult economic climate, and they have to do something. That’s why they’re considering a five percent budget cut for all departments in the county for the upcoming year.

Harper County Commissioner Brian Waldschmidt says the budget cuts would be an attempt to make sure property taxes aren’t raised on residents for the upcoming year. He says they want to save the taxpayers money.

Burns says, it’s like no matter what happens, more cuts would have an impact on every person working at the sheriff’s office.

“If we have to cut one more time we are not going to have somebody out on the streets 24 hours a day,” says Burns.

Categories: Local News

Axtell seniors give up their class trip for Ashland fire victims

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 19:48

ASHLAND, Kan. (KSNW) — Help continues to pour in to Ashland to help with fire recovery. This time, from students making a personal sacrifice.

“Anything that wasn’t metal was gone,” said Ashland High School junior Charlie Gibson about losing her home.

Charlie and her sister Chylynn are grateful for the help they’ve received so far.

“We’ve gotten clothes,” said Chylynn, “really anything we need. Everyone’s just like, anything you need, give us a call, just ask.”

Today, seniors from Axtell High School drove five hours to donate their class trip money to the fire victims.

“We thought it would be better to donate out money down here,” said Axtell High School senior class president Maddy Kuckelman, as she presented the check to Ashland students.

Instead of going to Kansas City the Axtell seniors were moved to action by the damage they saw on Facebook.

“I had access to money that wasn’t all mine,” said Kuckelman, “and this is the way that we could do it, so we just came to a vote, and we all decided that this is what we wanted to do.”

Ashland students shared their fire stories with their new friends.

“We better understand the devastation and what they went through,” said Kuckelman. “They lost everything they had, and that’s not what they’re focused on. They’re focused on what they’ve gained through this.”

The students said today was more memorable than their class trip would have been, saying it was worth the sacrifice to help other students.

“This is a pretty good one. We’ll remember this for forever,” said Kuckelman. “I’m just blessed to be able to be a part of this and happy that we were able to do this for them.”

Axtell students donated $2,200 to Ashland. That money will be divided among six families with children in the school district who lost their homes.

Categories: Local News

Salvation Army in need of fans

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:55

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The Salvation Army is in need of fans.  Each year the organization distributes fans locally throughout the summer to qualified individuals.

A provider last summer has discontinued their program, and it has created a huge need. Now, they are working to collect 1,500 fans.

“We can help our brothers and sisters in need. When you give to folks in need, you’re actually getting a gift. It feels good to help others, and by giving out fans, we’re giving a hand up, not a hand out,” said Beth Fatkin.

New box fans or funds to purchase fans may be donated at 350 N. Market or by calling 316-425-6131.

A monetary donation can be made toward fans on at the Salvation Army website.

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State officials ask Congress to secure ‘Obamacare’ subsidies

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:54

WASHINGTON (AP) — State officials are asking Congress to guarantee billions of dollars in health insurance subsidies under a legal cloud as a result of Republican opposition to “Obamacare.”

In a letter Wednesday to congressional leaders, the nonpartisan National Association of Insurance Commissioners said the so-called cost-sharing reductions are essential for keeping insurance markets stable next year. Insurers use the money to reduce deductibles and copayments for people with modest incomes.

The insurance commissioners want Congress to formally provide full subsidies in a must-pass government funding bill later this month.

President Donald Trump has talked of stopping the payments as a way to force Democrats to negotiate on health care.

A federal judge ruled in a lawsuit by House Republicans that the payments lack a congressional appropriation. That ruling is on hold.

Categories: Local News

Former Dallas Cowboy takes stand in trial

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:39

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Former Wichita high school football star and Dallas Cowboys tailback, Joseph Randle, took the stand in his own trial Wednesday

Randle faces charges of aggravated battery, destruction of property and other charges.

Defense attorney Steven Mank objected to his client taking the stand, but Randle said he wanted to talk to the jury.

During a Feb. 2016 house party, Randle said he was a victim and felt threatened that night.

It was at that party where more than a dozen people told police Randle got into argument, and then he got into his car.

Prosecutors say he deliberately hit three people while driving onto the lawn of that homeowner. Randle maintains he was the victim.

“I felt like it was me in a hostile environment, and which if I had had a gun, I probably would have pulled it out on someone,” Randle said.

Both the defense and prosecution rested their case. The jury has been released and will come back to begin deliberations on Thursday.

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Feds charge Kansas teenager for buying explosive on dark web

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 17:38

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Federal prosecutors have charged a Kansas teenager who used bitcoin to buy a grenade on the dark web.

A criminal information filed Wednesday charges Carlos Francisco Martin of Coffeyville with receiving an explosive meant to destroy property.

Defense attorney Steven Gradert says his client is just “kind of a dumb 18-year-old kid” who wanted to blow up a truck as revenge because someone had damaged his mom’s car.

He says his client plans to plead guilty.

Gradert says the purchase initially drew the attention of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s terrorism task force because of the method of purchase.

Bitcoins is a digital currency for use in peer-to-peer online transactions. The dark web is a collection of websites on an encrypted network that cannot be found using traditional search engines.

Categories: Local News

Kobach seeks to stay order over plan given to Trump

Wed, 04/19/2017 - 16:55

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Kansas’ top elections official has asked a magistrate judge to stay his order requiring him to turn over proposed changes to voting rights laws that he took to a meeting with President Donald Trump.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach filed the motion Wednesday. That was the deadline U.S. Magistrate James O’Hara had set to turn over two documents to plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging a state law requiring voters provide proof of their U.S. citizenship when registering.

O’Hara gave the American Civil Liberties Union until Friday to respond to Kobach’s request.

Kobach wants time to appeal the magistrate’s decision to U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson.

After examining the documents, O’Hara ruled Monday that parts were relevant to the lawsuit and chastised Kobach for misrepresenting the contents.

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