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43 people arrested in Ford County on numerous drug charges

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 14:48

DODGE CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities said 43 people were arrested Thursday for various drug charges.

The Dodge City Police Department, Ford County Sheriff’s Office, Kansas Bureau of Investigation, and Ford County Attorney’s Office completed a lengthy investigation targeting narcotics within Ford County. Communities impacted included Bucklin, Ford and Dodge City.

The operation resulted in 38 arrest warrants being issued and 43 people arrested.

Charges ranged from possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute within 1,000 feet of a school, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana and aggravated child endangerment.

Categories: Local KSN News

Cotton fire continues to burn in Pratt County

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 11:35

PRATT COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – A cotton fire is continuing to burn in Pratt County.

Thomas Collett sent KSN video of the fire.

Pratt County tells KSN News the fire started last night about one mile of Cullison.

Several fire units were dispatched to the scene. Crews thought they had the fire out, but wind caused it to restart Friday morning.

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Categories: Local KSN News

Texas EquuSearch team to be in Wichita to search for Lucas Hernandez

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 11:30

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Texas group will be in Wichita to continue the search for 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez.

Tim Miller, Founder and Director of Texas EquuSearch, said a group of members was leaving Texas today and will search for Lucas on Saturday. The search location hasn’t been determined.

It has been nearly weeks since Lucas was last seen. He was wearing a gray t-shirt with a bear on it, black sweat pants and socks. Lucas was missing several teeth and has silver caps on his remaining teeth.

Police said the tip line is still open if you have any information on Lucas’ whereabouts. It is 316-383-4461.

Categories: Local KSN News

Worst of bad US flu season is over as illnesses decline

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 11:17

NEW YORK (AP) — The worst of the nation’s nasty flu season is finally over.

U.S. health officials said Friday that the flu season apparently peaked in early February and has been falling since then.

The number of people going to the doctor with symptoms of the flu has continued to decline. Deaths from the flu or pneumonia are going down, too. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said 32 states reported heavy patient flu traffic last week, down from 43 a month ago.

This flu season started early and the intensity level was among the highest seen in a decade. The flu vaccine didn’t work very well this season and health officials are still trying to figure out why.

Categories: Local KSN News

Police respond to shots fired at Central Michigan University

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 09:27

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — School officials say police are responding to a report of shots fired at a residence hall at Central Michigan University.

The university said Friday morning that the report concerns Campbell Hall on its campus in Mount Pleasant. The university says the suspect is still at large, and police are urging students to take shelter.

The city says the male suspect is considered armed and dangerous.

The school released the information on its Facebook page around 9:30 a.m. An automated phone message from the school also was sent to students Friday morning.

Central Michigan University has about 23,000 students in Mount Pleasant, which is about 70 miles (112.6 kilometers) north of Lansing.

Categories: Local KSN News

Graco recalls thousands of highchairs sold at Walmart

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 09:14

Graco is recalling 36,000 highchairs sold exclusively at Walmart after several reports of children falling.

This recall involves Graco Table2Table 6-in-1 highchairs with model number 1969721.

The 6-in-1 highchairs convert to six different modes, including a traditional highchair, a booster seat and toddler chair and table. The highchair’s cushion is white with gold and gray polka dots. The model number is printed on a label on the underside of the toddler seat and on a label on the back of the booster seat. Graco and Table2Table highchair are also printed on the label on the underside of the toddler seat.

Graco has received 38 reports of the rear leg pivoting out of position, including five injuries to children who got bumps and bruises when their highchair fell over when they were in it.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled highchairs and contact Graco for a free repair kit. You can call 1-800-345-4109 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, or online at www.gracobaby.com and click on Support, then Product Recalls for more information.

Categories: Local KSN News

L.L. Bean raises age to 21 to buy rifles

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 08:53

NEW YORK (AP) — Kroger and L.L. Bean said Thursday they will no longer sell guns to anyone under 21, becoming the third and fourth major retailers this week to put restrictions in place that are stronger than federal laws. The announcements follow those by Dick’s Sporting Goods and Walmart, emphasizing the pressure companies are facing to take a stand.

Kroger, the nation’s largest grocery chain, said that since a mass shooting last month at a Florida high school that killed 17 people, it’s become clear that gun retail outlets must go beyond what current U.S. laws requires.

The 19-year-old accused in the school slaying bought the AR-15 used in the attack legally. Federal law allows people 18 and older to purchase long guns such as rifles.

“In response to the tragic events in Parkland and elsewhere, we’ve taken a hard look at our policies and procedures for firearm sales,” Kroger Co. said in a release. Kroger has sold guns from 44 of its Fred Meyer stores in the West and will raise the age to 21 for purchasing.

L.L. Bean, which says it only sells firearms at its flagship store in Maine and only guns specific to hunting and target shooting, released a statement late Thursday saying the company will no longer sell firearms or ammunition to anyone under 21.

The change comes one day after Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, both prominent gun sellers, tightened their company policies, and also a day after students returned to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, for the first time since the shooting there.

And late Thursday outdoor retailer REI says it’s halting future orders of some popular brands — including CamelBak water carriers, Giro helmets and Camp Chef stoves — whose parent company also makes ammunition and assault-style rifles. Seattle-based REI has been facing mounting pressure from some customers.

Companies like Dick’s had already changed gun-sale policies in the wake of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut, but the Parkland shooting has opened a fissure between a portion of corporate America and organizations like the National Rifle Association.

MetLife, Hertz and Delta Air Lines and other major U.S. corporations have already cut ties with the National Rifle Association, and at some political risk.

Georgia lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that effectively punishes Delta for cutting ties with the NRA, following through on Republican vows to deny a tax break worth an estimated $38 million to airlines after Delta ended discounts for NRA members in the wake of the most recent school massacre. The Atlanta-based airline would have been the chief beneficiary of the tax break.

One industry analyst said after the announcement from Dick’s, and strong words from its CEO about the need for change, that other retailers that devote a small percentage of their business to hunting will probably follow suit.

“It is a risky game but you can’t please everyone,” said Joseph Feldman, a senior managing director at Telsey Advisory Group.

The announcements from Walmart and Dick’s so far have drawn hundreds of thousands of responses on social media for and against the moves, from those who pledged to buy more from one company to campaigns urging people to thank the companies for their decisions to those who vowed never to buy from them again.

Penny Stalder, a Walmart customer Thursday in Atlanta, supports the company’s decision and says people mature a lot between 18 and 21.

“I am a member of the NRA, and I have a concealed carry license, I just don’t see the need for young people. They can wait,” she said. “There are other kinds of weapons that they can use to hunt or do whatever they want to do but they don’t need military-style weapons certainly.”

But Ryan Terlecki, outside a Walmart in Milwaukee, said he didn’t think the three years from 18 to 21 would make that much difference. “I guess they have their reasons, you know, but as far as I’m concerned the law is that we can carry guns and that’s our right and I believe we should have that right.”

Other companies have tried to stay out of the debate. Some gun sellers haven’t responded to requests for comment, including Bass Pro Shops, which owns Cabela’s, or Camping World Holdings, which owns Gander Outdoors. The Outdoor Industry Association hasn’t responded to requests for comment.

Besides major chains, guns are also bought from gun shows, local stores and from online stores.

“If large retailers, like Dick’s, reduce their exposure to guns, it could impact gun manufacturers,” says Maksim Soshkin, a senior analyst at IBISWorld. “Manufacturers could see a decrease in sales or have to find new avenues to sell their product.”

American Outdoor Brands, which owns Smith & Wesson, said Thursday it expects gun sales to be more or less flat for the next year to 18 months. The company’s third-quarter results and fourth-quarter forecasts were much weaker than Wall Street expected, and its stock fell 11 percent in aftermarket trading, while Sturm, Ruger fell 6 percent.

“We believe the firearms market will eventually return to long term growth,” American Outdoor Brands Corp. CEO James Debney said on a conference call. He said the impact of the move by Dick’s would very small, and it would be “pure speculation” to say what the effect might be of other companies following suit.

Kroger, based in Cincinnati, said it has been tweaking some of its gun departments as it renovates stores due to softer demand from customers. The company ended sales of assault-style rifles at Fred Meyer several years ago in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. It will extend that ban to Alaska, where customers could get such guns via special order.

The NRA, which also didn’t respond to request for comment Thursday, has pushed back on calls for raising age limits for guns or restricting the sale of assault-style weapons.

Could a person between the ages of 18 and 21 challenge the companies over the new policies and argue that they are discrimination based on age? Some experts say retailers can set age restrictions without violating the Second Amendment.

Los Angeles-based attorney Angela Reddock-Wright, who focuses on workplace discrimination disputes, said anti-discrimination laws mostly protect people 40 and older from being fired based on their age. Mike Glassman, who chairs the employment law group at the Cincinnati-based firm Dinsmore & Shohl, said the Second Amendment “only limits the government and not private entities.”

Categories: Local KSN News

Fire forces evacuation of Kansas State residence hall

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 08:41

MANHATTAN, Kan. (KSNW) – Students have been allowed back into their rooms at Kansas State University’s Wefald Hall following an early morning fire Friday.

The fire, reported to the K-State Police Department around 4:43 a.m., was extinguished by the hall’s suppression system. Students were evacuated to the nearby Kramer Dining Center.

Twenty-four students are being relocated because of water damage to their rooms.

A university employee inspecting conditions after the fire slipped on some standing water and was injured.

Five-hundred-and-forty students are housed in the coeducational hall, which was built-in 2016 on the west side of the Manhattan campus.

Categories: Local KSN News

Delta subjected to retribution in Georgia for crossing NRA

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 06:55

ATLANTA (AP) — As companies across America take a stand on guns after the Florida school massacre, Delta Air Lines withstood swift political retribution in its home state of Georgia for cutting ties with the National Rifle Association.

Ignoring warnings that the state’s business-friendly image could be tarnished, Republicans in the state legislature voted Thursday to kill a tax break that would have saved Delta millions of dollars in sales tax on jet fuel. The proposal wasn’t controversial until Delta announced last weekend it would no longer offer discounted fares to NRA members.

“I hope they are better at flying airplanes than timing P.R. announcements,” Georgia House Speaker David Ralston, a Republican, said after his chamber gave final approval to a larger tax-cut bill that was stripped of the jet fuel tax exemption.

The Feb. 14 slayings of 17 students and educators in Parkland, Florida, by a gunman armed with an AR-15 assault-style rifle has prompted retailers including Walmart, Kroger and Dick’s Sporting Goods to tighten their gun sales policies. Meanwhile, Delta and other companies including MetLife and Hertz have ended business ties with the NRA.

Delta’s decision triggered a showdown with pro-gun lawmakers in Georgia, where the Atlanta-based airline is one of the largest employers with 33,000 employees statewide. Republican Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, the state Senate’s presiding officer, vowed Monday to stop any tax break that would benefit Delta.

“Corporations cannot attack conservatives and expect us not to fight back,” tweeted Cagle, who is also running for governor.

GOP lawmakers amended a sweeping tax bill to eliminate a fuel-tax exemption worth at least an estimated $38 million to Delta and other airlines.

The Senate passed the tax measure 44-10, with Democrats accounting for all of the no votes. The House — which had passed an earlier version with the jet fuel exemption before the Delta controversy erupted — followed with a 135-24 vote.

Republican Gov. Nathan Deal criticized the Delta controversy as an “unbecoming squabble” but said he would sign the broader tax measure in whatever form it passed.

Delta did not immediately return messages seeking comment Thursday. NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen had no immediate comment.

The Delta provision barely came up Thursday in either legislative chamber during debate on the underlying tax bill, designed in part to give back to Georgia taxpayers $5.2 billion in extra state revenue expected over the next five years because of the recent federal tax overhaul.

Cagle took a softer tone in celebrating victory Thursday.

“Obviously the political environment does sometimes get a little testy, but in the end, it’s all about the product,” said Cagle, who is running this year to succeed the term-limited governor. “And the product we have today is something that all of us can be very proud of.”

GOP Sen. Michael Williams, another gubernatorial candidate, praised Republicans for holding out in the face of criticism from the news media and corporate America.

“We’ve stayed strong,” Williams said. “We’ve even stayed strong against our own governor.”

Among Democrats voting against the tax bill was Sen. Nikema Williams of Atlanta, who applauded companies that have taken swift action on guns after the Florida tragedy. She said Delta’s decision to end its NRA discounts led her to support the jet fuel tax break.

“The small steps that Delta and Dick’s Sporting Goods are taking, to take a stand and say enough is enough, is what we all need to be doing as adults,” Williams said. “We’re the leaders of this state and we need to be coming together for solutions, not bullying corporations who are trying to do the right thing.”

Critics of the GOP effort to retaliate against Delta have warned it could backfire by harming Georgia’s ability to lure businesses — including Amazon, which recently named Atlanta a finalist in its search for a second headquarters.

“It definitely could have an effect when an outside company looks at something that happens this quickly around election time to one of the largest employers in the state,” said William Hatcher, a professor at Augusta University who studies economic development. “But will it be the dominant factor? I don’t think so.”


AP reporter Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia, contributed to this story.

Categories: Local KSN News

Laura’s Look: Weekend wind & warmth

Fri, 03/02/2018 - 03:20

Windy warmth on the menu this weekend. Add in low humidity and it’s a recipe for extreme fire danger.

Stronger winds today push in spring temperatures with widespread highs in the 60s and 70s.

Fire weather alerts have been issued for parts of Kansas due to the high threat for grass fires.

Saturday will be even warmer. It’ll be difficult to enjoy considering the brutal winds. Fire danger will be high once again.

A storm system to bring rain relief late Sunday into Monday. Some thunder is possible although we’re not expecting severe weather.

After Sunday’s rain chance, it doesn’t look good as far as moisture. We fall back into a dry weather pattern which will aid in worsening drought conditions.


Categories: Local KSN News

Thursday Night High School Basketball highlights and scores

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 22:54

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Augusta girls’ basketball is one of many Sunflower State teams that punched their ticket to a Saturday substate final game.

The Oriles had no trouble getting past Mulvane, beating the Wildcats 50-22.

Here are some other scores from around the state:

Girls’ Basketball

Andover Central 55 Rose Hill 48 F

Wellington 50 Field Kindley 41 F

Arkansas City 39 Winfield 36 F

Circle 56 El Dorado 10 F

Abilene 49 Wamego 37 F

McPherson 80 Buhler 36 F

Ulysses 58 Hays 45 F

Andale 56 Clearwater 16 F

Trinity Academy 59 Collegiate 48 F

Hugoton 47 Larned 36 F

Pratt 44 Holcomb 42 F


Categories: Local KSN News

WPD Police Chief Ramsay visits Wichita schools to talk school safety

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 22:30

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Every year Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay visits schools to talk with students. Following the mass shooting in Florida, school safety was something the chief really wanted to stress.

Chief Ramsay is pretty comfortable talking with students, even when it’s not an easy topic.

“It is sad for me to even talk about this with you guys that you have to be worried about your safety in a school,” explained Chief Ramsay.

Since the Florida school shooting, the nation has been thrown into a whirlwind of controversy. Why didn’t the FBI act beforehand? Did the deputy who waited outside do enough?

“I guess for me in this position the one thing I have learned it is always best to wait for us to judge, or I judge, until we have all of the facts,” explained Chief Ramsay.

Though just students, Ramsay believes the men in Wichita schools can stop a shooter without political action.

“Before these incidents happen it almost always comes out that someone knew something,” said Ramsay. “If you are not comfortable, some people always get a little worried about contacting the police. Notify someone in the school you can trust, if not the police, but do it as soon as possible.”

WPD has seven school resource officers, usually one in each high school, but Ramsay would like to have more.

“Yeah. Part of it is just financial. One of our limitations is always around money and what we can do with what we have,” explained Ramsay.

So he’s counting on the students to watch out for eachother and be alert.

Categories: Local KSN News

‘Raise My Head’ grants scholarships as second chance for women

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 22:00

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Carol Wilson is ready for her close-up.

The Wichita woman is a former drug addict and a survivor of human trafficking. She said she never received an honor in her life, because she did not set herself up for anything positive in her former life.

“I’m gonna feel like a kid in a candy store it’s gonna be great. This is the first time I’ve ever been recognized, for anything,” Wilson said.

Wilson is one of three women being honored by the Raise My Head foundation, a group that helps women who self-identify as wanting out of unimaginable life situations and into healthier ones. She says drugs took her family away from her and her sense of reasoning. Raise My Head and founding director Vicki Bond gave her that second chance.

“It’s been a beautiful thing I have a lot of access to resources and support that I didn’t have on my own, and if I had tried that on my own again, I probably wouldn’t be here today,” Wilson admits.

Wilson’s roommate Kristi Dean was also honored with a scholarship. Dean dropped out of high school when she was pregnant and also fell victim to trafficking.

“Most people when they hear sex trafficking, they assume pimps…but a lot of it is actually down on their luck, homeless and everything that end up selling themselves for just drugs or a place to stay, or shower, or eat, or money to survive on…and that was me, that was what mine was,” Dean said.

Dean is taking online classes to receive her high school diploma. Right now, stability is her goal but she eventually wants to own her own business and provide services for women who faced the horrors she did.

Vicki Bond and emcee city councilwoman Cindy Claycomb awarded Dean, Wilson and Alisha Custer with scholarships. Dean and Wilson also received computer equipment to pursue their respective degrees.

“It’s really special when you can offer something like that to someone. Carol (Wilson) said it best when she said, ‘tonight is all about me, I’m doing this for me, I get to honor me,’ and I think that’s very special because these women have never felt that before,” Bond said.

Wilson teared up when she received her certificate and recognition in front of board members.

“To have tonight reflect the positive reflection of my life is awesome…first I owe it all to God then I owe it to this, to Vicki Bond and this foundation,” Wilson said.

For more on Raise My Head, visit http://raisemyhead.org/

Categories: Local KSN News

UPDATE: 6-year-old girl found safe after vehicle she was in was stolen

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 20:43

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – UPDATE: The stolen vehicle has been located and the girl has been found safe.

Authorities found the child in the 2600 block of S. Osage.

A vehicle has been stolen from a laundromat in Wichita and a 6-year-old girl was in the vehicle at the time.

Authorities say the vehicle is an Escalade and it was stolen from the Lost Sock Laundromat on 921 S. Seneca. The tag of the vehicle is 391-KRW.

Police are searching for the vehicle now.

Categories: Local KSN News

Wichita donut shop loses $500 per day, owner blames construction nearby

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 20:33

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – When will construction in Wichita’s Old Town be completed?

Many drivers and area business owners have been asking that question for months. On Thursday, the city said the construction project on the Douglas Avenue and Hydraulic intersection should be near completion in five to six weeks.

“That five or six weeks will get us to substantial completion as far as getting the intersection back open to traffic. After that, we will have some of that landscaping and aesthetic work to be done,” said Wichita City Engineer Gary Janzen.

The news of the project completion couldn’t come soon enough for The Donut Whole owner Michael Carmody.

“Since the beginning of the road construction project, it’s been reasonably dire,” Carmody said.

Construction on Douglas and Hydraulic started in August of 2017. Carmody said donut sales have dropped to an all time low during that time.

“We have been down everyday on average like $500, so we are set to lose, compared to the previous years, about $100,000 over this period of time, give or take,” he said.

Carmody blames it on the limited access to his store.

“I think the first people you lose are those who come through every morning to get coffee and donuts through the drive up because of the convenience factor, so now those people are going down Kellogg and going down Second St. instead,” Carmody said. “People just start to avoid this part of town all together.”

“Honestly, when I was driving down the street I thought they had moved or something because the construction,” said Donut Whole customer J Price.

The Hopping Gnome Brewing Company, also located on the construction path, has fielded similar questions.

“We have had some slower days here and there. We’ve had some questions, some people asking if we are still open,” said Hopping Gnome Brewing Company Co-owner Stacy Ward Lattin.

Ward Lattin said overall sales haven’t been greatly affected by the construction. She adds she and her staff have tried to maintain a positive attitude and outlook on the project.

“We are definitely using social media to make it light-hearted knowing that it’s kind of a bummer right now, but as we get through it and we will get through it, it’s progress. It’s great for the city and we are going to get a patio out of the deal!” she said.

Like Ward Lattin, Carmody said he’s hopeful for the end product.

“It’s going to be wonderful once they’re finished,” Carmody said.

The City of Wichita told KSN it’s working as fast as it can to complete the project, however crews are behind schedule.

“We lost what we estimate to be three or four weeks right away, so in trying to catch up to that we were trying to gain on it, then we have had weather issues, so, so far we have had almost 30 days of weather delays,” Janzen said.

Janzen added this is a small setback for a much larger goal.

“It’s going to be a safer intersection. It’s more aesthetically pleasing. It’s easier to access. We are making pedestrian improvements. It’s easier for people to get there. It’s more efficient to get traffic and pedestrians through there,” he said.

The project will add left turn lanes, new signals, brick pedestrian crosswalks, sidewalks and landscaping enhancements.

Categories: Local KSN News

WPD K9 following his nose to help search for Lucas Hernandez

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 19:05

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Many officers and responders from various agencies have helped in the search for 5-year-old Lucas Hernandez.

They’ve also used K9s in this search, including one K9 who specializes in finding human scents.

3-year-old Blue has walked trails in Chisholm Creek Park looking for Lucas with officer Joe Camp.

He’s found people before with his skill and they’re hope is to find people alive.

Blue works hours at a time tracking and following human scents.

And his trainer says, he’s good at his job.

“We’ve been successful, we continue to hope to be successful with finding people,” said officer Joe Camp, Wichita Police Department.

It’s why he plays a major role in the search for Lucas.

Other K9s have been searching for him, but Blue’s abilities are unique.

His training in live human scent discrimination allows Blue to get familiar with a person’s scent and find it, among many other smells.

“The well-trained dog in scent discrimination should be able to find a person even if there are hundreds of other people around such as river festival,” said Camp.

Camp says Blue can pick up a scent off of clothing, cell phones, shoes, and even car seats. And he’s able to find people after being gone for days.

“I’ve done trails four to five weeks old and been successful in them,” said Camp.

But Camp says the team can’t do it alone.

“Continue to call into the tip line with any information that they have about the whereabouts of Lucas so the detectives, Blue and I can follow-up on those tips,” said Camp.

That tip line for anyone with information on Lucas is 316-383-4661.

Police say to continue and call that number if you see or hear of anything having to do with him and the search.

Categories: Local KSN News

Personal information of thousands of Kansans released by mistake

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 18:59

TOPEKA (CAPITOL BUREAU) — The personal information of thousands of Kansans was released by mistake.

The Department of Aging and Disability Services says it became aware late last month that an employee sent an unauthorized e-mail with the information to its business partners.

According to KDAD, the e-mail contained Social Security numbers, Medicaid Identification numbers, and other personal information of 11,000 Kansans.

The department said it has no evidence the information was misused or disclosed publicly. It said agreements prevent the partners from disseminating the information.

“My understanding at this point is that the breach was very limited in scope and it was all kept contained,” Gov. Jeff Colyer told reporters Thursday.

News of the breach came minutes before representatives in House debated two cybersecurity bills.

One bill would hold agency heads accountable for any breaches.

“This will make sure that agency heads realize that they are responsible for the protection of consumer information that they hold,” said State Rep. Keith Esau, R-Olathe.

“It’s a baby step in a path forward, we need to do so much more,” explained State Rep. Jeff Pittman, D-Leavnworth.

Pittman points to a cyber breach last year when hackers stole millions of Social Security numbers from the Kansas Department of Commerce’s data system.

“We had to go out and notify all the people who were breached and that costs money. And then we have to offer, for those who want it, a year’s worth of credit protection,” said Pittman

Pittman explained credit protections can cost the state millions of dollars.

“Not everyone took advantage of that so we weren’t on the hook for $6 million or more, it was only about $1.2. But that still costs us money and that’s going to grow,” he said.

Lawmakers say as the world becomes more and more digital, finding ways to protect people’s personal information becomes more difficult.

“We want to stay on top of security threats,” said Esau.

A KDAD spokeswoman said the employee involved in the mistake has been let go from the department. All consumers whose information was released will receive a letter of explanation from KDAD.

Categories: Local KSN News

Main Street Kansas: Movie magic still a mainstay in Syracuse

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 18:37

SYRACUSE, Kan. (KSNW)– From its opening in 1930 during the Great Depression to now, almost 90 years later, the look of the Northrup Theatre in Syracuse has not changed much.

“It’s pretty much a time capsule,” said Mark Davis, vice president of the Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. “The walls are what they were.”

Its art deco design preserves the historic feel.

“There’s so much heart that’s gone into this building,” said manager, Krista Norton.

“My wife and I had our first date here on January 17, 42 years ago,” recalled Davis with a smile

It’s just one of many romances that started over popcorn.

“We’d go out for supper, then come to a movie and sit in the way back row,” said Syracuse native, Arlene Kirby. “But we were more interested in each other than the movie, I think!”

“One time we even had a couple take their wedding pictures inside here,” said Norton. “We’re just all one big family.”

That’s why townspeople came together in the 90’s, when it looked like the Northrup family might close the theatre.

The Chamber of Commerce launched an ambitious campaign of car raffles, donations, and a low-interest loan from the local banks to buy the theatre– almost $63,000 in private money raised by a town of less than 2,000 people.

“And I can remember going to Chamber state meetings, and they’d say, ‘How did you do that?'” said Sandy Dikeman, former Chamber executive director. “Well, y’know, we just started, and we just believed we could do it.”

They’re still doing it. Every time the theatre has to modernize– from the furnace to the electrical wiring to the digital projection system– the town teams up to pay for it.

Originally the Northrup Theatre had almost 800 seats, but they were wooden and not too comfortable so the Chamber replaced them with less than 300 wider, more cushioned seats. The city and county pitched in on the funding.

In return, the theatre tries to keep its prices affordable, but with the movie industry taking a bigger cut of the box office sales, managers say it’s a struggle to make a profit.

“In the age of Netflix and Hulu and all those, it’s a challenge. It’s become more challenging to keep theaters like this going,” said volunteer, Brett Doze.”I think it’s important.”

Every weekend, as the next generation fills the theatre, they know it’s up to them to safeguard its future and keep the screen from going dark for good.

Categories: Local KSN News

Sorghum growers seeing the impact of China’s threat

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 17:51

LAKIN, Kan. (KSNW) — China is threatening to impose tariffs on American sorghum.

Kansas is the country’s top producer of sorghum, and farmers are already feeling the pain.

It’s more stress on farmers.

“I think I got about three hours of sleep that night,” said farmer Kyler Millershaski. “It’s definitely interesting to see how this will play out.”

China is the single-biggest buyer of US sorghum.

“Luckily it worked out that the contract you already had,” said Millershaski, “they were going to let go through, but any new contracts, they put a hold on that.”

He lost his biggest customer overnight.

“We were hoping to move more milo to China in the future and as of now that’s looking like that’s not going to happen.”

It’s another in a long series of setbacks for farmers who already had a hard time selling off excess grain.

“If an important source of usage dries up then those supplies are just going to be hanging over the market and prices are going to be depressed,” said Monte Vandeveer with Kansas State University.

Those prices are already falling. Millershaski said sorghum prices dropped by as much as 20 percent.

“Yeah, it’s definitely a noticeable drop and we’re feeling it on the farm.”

Before this, he says the price of milo was rising, offering a bit of a relief to low wheat prices, but the setbacks keep coming.

“It’s going to be a tough year for wheat, and then just getting the milo from last year sold at a lower price, that’s going to be tough as well.”

Categories: Local KSN News

Wichita working on impressing NCAA hoops visitors

Thu, 03/01/2018 - 17:24

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – It’s coming, soon. The NCAA basketball tournament will soon be in town, and the basketballs will by flying.

Officials at the airport are hoping actual flyers will be impressed. To help, they are planning a small hoops party.

“We do have some fun things planned. We are going to have a basketball game set up in the baggage claim area where people can compete,” says Valerie Wise, Eisenhower National Airport Marketing Manager. “And of course we’re going to have lots of signage welcoming visitors to Wichita. There are digital signs and posters and we will have information that will be given out at the information desk. So we will have a nice, warm welcome to Wichita.”

Outside the airport, downtown, they continue plans to make Wichita appeal to anyone who’s never been here. KSN talked to Jason Gregory, VP of Downtown Wichita, at the pocket park downtown. Gregory pointed to the BikeShareICT bikes as an example of how Wichita has changed over the years.

“So if I’m a visitor I can get on a bike and go anywhere around,” says Gregory. “But the other thing that we’ve tried to do is focus on making downtown more walkable. So you see art and you see activation of spaces with different things so I think we’ve been working on this for several years and it’s a whole host of different groups.”

Gregory points to Intrust Arena as the one big thing that should impress visitors. But, he says it’s the little things that also make an impression.

Wichita Arts & Cultural services director, John D’Angelo agrees.

“We have a vibrant arts culture here, and you really don’t have to look far to find it,” says D’Angelo. “From the new exhibit at the Wichita Art Museum that just opened… Cowtown will be open. I think there will be some people there as well as the Indian Center. We’re fortunate here to have a really rich arts and cultural background and I think people will find there is a lot of creativity that occurs within the city.”

Along with the permanent exhibits and cultural offerings, there are activities planned specifically for NCAA visitors on Commerce Street.

Also, the city now has nine different groups that have applied for temporary event sites during the NCAA tournament.

Now as city leaders finish some details like making sure transit continues to run smoothly, to party offerings at the airport, they also say they are doing their part. Now, mother nature cooperating would also be helpful.

“Weather has to cooperate,” says D’Angelo. “I think all the outdoor events certainly are counting on the weather to cooperate. And if it’s like this week, it will be great.”

Categories: Local KSN News