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Cattle lost weight from April snowstorm

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 18:39

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — Some ranchers in western Kansas continue to deal with the loss of cattle after last month’s snow storm, but weight loss among surviving cattle is also hitting ranchers hard.

“We didn’t think things we going to be too bad, and then Sunday morning we woke up, and it was a full-blown blizzard,” said rancher Lee Reeve. “You know it had kind of a devastating effect short-term, because all the cattle lost some weight. We had a little bit of death loss.”

Reeve says insurance can help cover the loss of dead cattle, but the real issue is the weight cattle lost in the snow.

Because the storm happened in the spring after a mild winter, the cattle’s hair had thinned, making the problem worse.

“If you’re trying to survive in 50 mile an hour winds was blowing snow,” he said, “it was just tough on them.”

Reeve says each head of his 40,000 cattle lost about 30 lbs.

At the current hundredweight, that’s a loss of roughly $1.7 million.

“We don’t like to think of it that way because it’s just part of doing business,” he said.

Instead, he chooses to look forward

“The weight that’s gone is gone. Now, some of the newer cattle will have several months here. They’ll gain that weight back.”)

He hopes supply and demand will help stabilize the losses.

“All the cattle have lost weight, so the market has rebounded somewhat to cover part of that loss, so it’s not quite as devastating as it might sound on the surface,” he said. “We just move on, just like we always do.”

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Trump fires FBI director James Comey

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 17:48

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump abruptly fired FBI Director James Comey Tuesday, saying it was necessary to restore “public trust and confidence” in the nation’s top law enforcement agency following several tumultuous months.

“The FBI is one of our nation’s most cherished and respected institutions, and today will mark a new beginning for our crown jewel of law enforcement,” Trump said in a statement.

The White House said the search for a new FBI director was beginning immediately.

The White House made the stunning announcement shortly after the FBI corrected a sentence in Comey’s sworn testimony on Capitol Hill last week. Comey told lawmakers that Huma Abedin, a top aide to Hillary Clinton, had sent “hundreds and thousands” of emails to her husband’s laptop, including some with classified information.

On Tuesday, the FBI said in a two-page letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee that only “a small number” of the thousands of emails found on the laptop had been forwarded there while most had simply been backed up from electronic devices. Most of the email chains on the laptop containing classified information were not the result of forwarding, the FBI said.

Comey, 56, was nominated by President Barack Obama for the FBI post in 2013 to a 10-year term. Praised for his independence and integrity, Comey has spent three decades in law enforcement and has been no stranger to controversy.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Bret Belvins trial begins in Sedgwick County

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 16:22

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The trial for the man charged in connection with a traffic crash that killed two Starkey clients began Tuesday.

Bret Blevins is accused of involuntary manslaughter, second-degree murder, and driving under influence last May 6.

Court documents show Blevins was legally drunk and had been using meth when the fatal crash happened. He was also going 49 miles an hour and still accelerating when the two vehicles collided.

In court Tuesday, both the state and defense conducted opening statements. The state said it is a very clear case that Blevins drove under influence and killed two people. However, the defense said the accident was a tragedy, and they raised questions whether or not Blevins was driving. The defense said Blevins girlfriend may have been driving.

KSN’s Craig Andres is following the trial in court. Look for his updates on Twitter. 

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City of Wichita holding online surplus auction

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 15:56

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The City of Wichita is holding an internet-only auction of surplus vehicles and equipment. The online auction closes at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, May 23. Items include buses, cars, trucks, Toro Dingo compact loader, Brush Bandit chipper, paint booth, etc.

Inspection times are from 4 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, and 12 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 20 at the Central Maintenance Facility, 1801 S. McLean.

Items are offered “AS IS” and “WHERE IS,” without warranty or guarantee. For an item listing or to place bids, please visit www.purplewave.com.

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Tunnel with nuclear waste collapses in Washington state

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 13:37

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A portion of a storage tunnel that contains rail cars full of radioactive waste collapsed Tuesday morning, forcing an emergency declaration at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeastern Washington state.

Officials detected no release of radiation and no workers were injured, said Randy Bradbury, a spokesman for the Washington state Department of Ecology.

There were no workers inside the tunnel when it collapsed. But nearby Hanford workers were evacuated and others who were farther away were told to remain indoors, the U.S. Department of Energy said.

The accident occurred at a facility known as PUREX, located in the middle of the sprawling Hanford site, which is half the size of Rhode Island, Bradbury said.

Hanford is located near Richland, about 200 miles southeast of Seattle.

The closed PUREX plant was part of the nation’s nuclear weapons production complex.

Hanford for decades made plutonium for nuclear weapons and is now the largest depository of radioactive defense waste that must be cleaned.

It contains about 56 million gallons of radioactive waste, most of it in 177 underground tanks.

Bradbury said the collapse occurred at one of two rail tunnels under the PUREX site.

In the past, rail cars full of radioactive waste were driven into the tunnels and then buried there, he said.

Hanford has more than 9,000 employees.

The site was built during World War II and made the plutonium for most of the U.S. nuclear arsenal, including the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan, at the end of the war.

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Garden City football player’s cause of death determined

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:57

KISMET, Kan. (KSNW) – The Seward County Sheriff’s Office has released new information in the death of junior college football player

Sean Callahan, 19, was found unresponsive Sunday afternoon at a home in Kismet.  He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The sheriff’s department tells KSN his cause of death is from natural causes.  The department didn’t release any specifics.

Callahan was a sophomore offensive lineman at Garden City Community College. He received an associate degree during spring commencement ceremonies on Friday.

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Cause of Wilson mill fire undetermined

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:28

WILSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Authorities say the cause of a blaze that destroyed an abandoned mill in central Kansas is undetermined, but authorities are still investigating.

On Sunday afternoon, firefighters responded to a fire at the old mill in Wilson.

The structure once was used to mill flour, and then was used as a grain elevator.

Fire departments from Wilson, Bunker Hill, Dorrance, Ellsworth, Holyrood and Russell responded.

The incident is under investigation by the State Fire Marshal and the Wilson Police Department.

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Missouri Valley Conference invites Valpo to join the league

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:03

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — The Missouri Valley Conference has invited Valparaiso to join the league, replacing Wichita State.

The league Tuesday that its nine members voted unanimously to extend an invite to the Crusaders, who currently play in the Horizon League, effective on July 1. The Valley said it have no further comment on the move pending the negotiation of terms.

The Valley, once among the nation’s top mid-major programs, has been stung in recent years by the loss of two top men’s basketball programs. Creighton bolted for the Big East and the Shockers, who’ve been upset about the NCAA Tournament seeds of late, left for the American Athletic earlier this year.

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3 arrests made in DUI checkpoint in west Wichita

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:59

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita police held a DUI saturation patrol on Friday, May 5. During a four-hour period, officers made 33 car stops. In that time, three were arrested for DUI.

Citations were written for one open container, six speeding, two seat belt violations, and 24 other miscellaneous violations.

The Wichita Police Department Patrol West Bureau conducted the patrol.

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Police stop 8-year-old boy driving for drunk mom

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:49

MILWAUKEE, Wis. (WTMJ) – A Milwaukee mother is facing multiple charges after police stopped her driving under the influence with her 8-year-old son on her lap.

Authorities say 37-year old Carrie Bernard failed a field sobriety test and was arrested for her third suspected DUI.

Police stopped Bernard after they saw her car entering an on-ramp with the child on her lap, steering the vehicle.

Deputies say the boy was crying because he didn’t want to go to jail.

The boy was turned over to Child Protective Services.

During the arrest, a camera inside the police car was rolling as Bernard said “I think I might have a drink after this.”

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Judge agrees to toss Aaron Hernandez’s murder conviction

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:44

FALL RIVER, Mass. (AP) — Former NFL star Aaron Hernandez’s conviction in a 2013 murder can be erased because he died before his appeal was heard, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Judge E. Susan Garsh said case law in Massachusetts has long established that defendants who have not had the merits of their appeals decided before they die have the right to have their convictions vacated. She said she was compelled to follow it.

The former New England Patriots tight end hanged himself in his cell in a maximum-security prison last month while serving a life sentence on a first-degree murder conviction in the death of semi-professional football player Odin Lloyd. He died five days after being acquitted in a separate double slaying in 2012.

Lawyers for Hernandez had argued that the state’s highest court had applied the legal doctrine “without exception,” even in cases of suicide. They said his conviction wasn’t considered final because the automatic appeal he was entitled to had not been heard at the time of his death.

Prosecutor Patrick Bomberg had argued that Hernandez “should not be able to accomplish in death what he could not accomplish in life.”

But Garsh rejected the argument that Hernandez had forfeited his right to appeal by taking his own life, saying no one can ever know for sure why Hernandez killed himself.

Hernandez’s appellate attorney, John Thompson, told reporters after the hearing that he believes it’s still uncertain as to whether Hernandez took his own life.

Thompson says he has recent correspondence from Hernandez in which he was interested in pursuing an appeal of his conviction. Thompson also said because Hernandez died in prison, it will be difficult to definitively determine how he died.

Hernandez’s lead attorney in his recent double murder trial, Jose Baez, has pledged to do an independent investigation into his death.

State police said in an investigative report that Hernandez was found naked on April 19 and hanging from a bed sheet tied around the window bars of his cell. Correction officers found that cardboard had been shoved into the tracks of Hernandez’s cell door to prevent the door from opening. Hernandez also had put shampoo on the floor to make it slippery, the report states.

An autopsy performed by the state medical examiner’s office determined the cause of Hernandez’s death was asphyxia by hanging and the manner of death was suicide.

Hernandez, who grew up in Bristol, Connecticut, and played football at the University of Florida, was considered an up-and-coming star during his three seasons with the Patriots. He was cut from the team hours after his arrest in the killing of Lloyd.

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Teen’s plea for free Wendy’s nuggets sets retweet record

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:33

RENO, Nev. (AP) — A Twitter plea from a Nevada teen for a year of free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s is now the most retweeted post of all time.

Carter Wilkinson asked the fast food chain on Twitter last month how many retweets it would take for him to get free nuggets for a year. Wendy’s replied, “18 million.”

Wilkinson’s screenshot of the exchange has moved past Ellen DeGeneres’ viral tweet from the 2014 Oscars on Tuesday with more than 3.4 million retweets. Twitter confirmed the record to The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Wendy’s says Wilkinson has earned the nuggets despite not hitting the 18 million mark.

Wilkinson appeared on DeGeneres’ show last month. She gave him a year’s worth of Ellen-branded underwear and a television, but threatened to take the gifts back if he passed her.

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Amazon gives voice-enabled speaker a screen, video calling

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 11:31

NEW YORK (AP) — Amazon is giving its voice-enabled Echo speaker a touch screen and video-calling capabilities as it competes with Google’s efforts at bringing “smarts” to the home.

The new device, called Echo Show, goes on sale on June 28 for $230.

The market for voice-assisted speakers is small but growing. Research firm eMarketer expects usage of the speakers to more than double, with nearly 36 million Americans using such a device at least once a month by year’s end.

Amazon’s Echo is expected to continue its dominance, with a share of nearly 71 percent, though eMarketer expects Google’s Home speaker to cut into that share in the coming years.

Amazon says it’s also bringing calling and messaging features to its existing Echo and Echo Dot devices and the Alexa app for phones.

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Los Angeles could land Olympic Games, but which year?

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:52

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Leaders in Los Angeles will guide their International Olympic Committee guests from the Hollywood Hills to Santa Monica Beach to a construction site that will someday be a $2.6 billion NFL stadium that can also host soccer games.

If this week’s tour is a success, Los Angeles will earn the chance to host its third Olympics.

But which Olympics?

Officially, Los Angeles and Paris are the only two bidders left for the 2024 Games that will be awarded in September at a meeting of Olympic leaders in Lima, Peru. On the table, however, is a proposal to use that meeting to dole out the next two Olympics — 2024 and 2028 — one to each city.

IOC President Thomas Bach said he wants to avoid producing so many losers in the multimillion-dollar Olympic-bidding game. Unsaid is Bach’s need to avoid another bidding debacle, similar to the 2024 contest, if the rules remain the same for 2028.

The 2024 race began with five cities, but slowly, awkwardly, tapered down to two, after Rome; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary; all pulled out. And that’s not including the embarrassment the U.S. Olympic Committee suffered when its first candidate city, Boston, stepped aside because of tepid — or, some might say, barely existent — public support.

Like Paris, Los Angeles is sticking to the party line, insisting it is in the mix only for 2024.

“Los Angeles is the right city for 2024 at this important time for the Olympic Movement and is only bidding for 2024,” LA 2024 Chairman Casey Wasserman said.

The 2024-28 issue is hardly the only unpredictable factor in a bidding process that has grown more confusing, even as the number of candidates dwindled.

A look at the key issues Los Angeles faces as it hosts the evaluation visit Tuesday through Friday:

POLITICS: When President Donald Trump first issued his executive order temporarily banning refugees and immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, it threw some Olympic sports into flux: Namely, the U.S. wrestling team was scheduled for a trip to Iran, which was one of the banned countries.

That issue was worked out, and Trump’s order is stalled in court, but his presence will certainly be felt.

“Both countries have a lot going on politically that can be game-changers at any minute,” said Jules Boykoff, a professor at Pacific University in Oregon who has written widely on the Olympics movement.

When centrist Emmanuel Macron defeated far-right candidate Marine Le Pen in France’s presidential election, it took some uncertainty out of the Paris bid. Meanwhile, Trump’s populist, “America-first” message is hardly the arms-wide-open stance the Olympics embrace. And yet, for his part, Trump is backing the bid, certainly knowing this is the kind of win he’d love to be a part of — the U.S. hasn’t hosted a Summer Games since 1996 — even if he plays a nominal role.

COST: Los Angeles is pledging to stage the Games for a grand total of $5.3 billion, which would be around one-third of what Tokyo is expected to spend for 2020. It’s a claim that speaks to Bach’s mandate to keep costs down and stop spending billions on stadiums that don’t get used much once the Olympics end.

A strong point of the Los Angeles bid, certain to be showcased during the visit, is that 95 percent of the proposed venues are already built, including the Los Angeles Coliseum, which would host the opening ceremonies, same as it did in 1932 and 1984.

TRAFFIC: The 2016 cinematic tribute to the sort of dreams that can come true in Los Angeles, “La La Land,” opened, fittingly enough, with a musical number taking place amid gridlocked cars on the freeway during rush hour. That traffic is as much a symbol of LA as the “Hollywood” sign or the NBA’s Lakers, and it’s certain officials will do their best to keep their guests far away from the snarls this week.

The bid promises to bring 100 percent of ticketed spectators to competition sites by public transportation or systems designed for spectators, such as shuttle buses. There are also memories of 1984, when traffic wasn’t much of a problem in part because many of the locals left town or stayed off the freeways.

ENTHUSIASM: Time and again bid leaders have touted a poll, conducted by Loyola Marymount University, which found 88 percent of respondents wanted Los Angeles to host the Olympics.

As the vote and any potential Games get closer, those numbers will certainly change.

Already in question is an LA24 claim that more than 1 million Facebook users said they wanted to see the Olympics in Los Angeles.

A report prepared for The Associated Press last month found that Los Angeles saw an explosion of support over a six-week period from places such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, for instance, supporters of the bid rose from a few dozen to more than 113,000 in the span of six weeks.

LA stands by the numbers.


Pells reported from Denver.

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Target testing a restocking program for household essentials

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:50

NEW YORK (AP) — Target is testing a program that lets customers order household essentials like laundry detergent, paper towels and peanut butter and have them delivered to their homes the next day.

The service, being tested with employees for now, is similar to Amazon Pantry, and comes as Target is trying to enhance its online services to better compete with Wal-Mart and online leader Amazon.

Target Restock, announced on the company’s blog Monday, is limited for now to some employees at the company’s headquarters in Minneapolis. Target says it plans to pilot the service in the same area this summer to shoppers in its REDcard loyalty program.

The program will include more than 8,000 items including nonperishable food like granola bars and coffee. Shoppers will be able to fill a box with up to 45 pounds of goods and have the orders shipped for what Target called “a low flat fee.” Spokesman Eddie Baeb says the company doesn’t have a fee set but intends to be “very competitive” with similar offerings. Amazon Pantry charges a $5.99 a box and the shipping is not expedited. Target Restock boxes will be packaged at a nearby store, allowing Target workers to fulfill orders before 1:30 p.m. by the next business day.

Baeb said there are no current plans for a nationwide rollout, and any expansion depends on the performance of the service.

“There are lots of logistics we want to figure out,” he said.

Meanwhile, Target quietly raised its threshold for free shipping to $35 from $25 on Sunday, matching Wal-Mart’s current level. Target had lowered it to $25 from $50 in 2015. In late January, Wal-Mart lowered its limit to $35 from $50, and Amazon then lowered its free two-day shipping threshold to $35 from $49 for non-Prime members.

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Trump’s Muslim comments could haunt him in travel ban appeal

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:48

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — The first federal appeals court to hear a challenge to President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban appeared unconvinced that it should ignore the Republican’s repeated promises on the campaign trail to bar Muslims from entering the country.

An attorney for the president urged the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday to focus on the text of the religiously neutral executive order rather than use campaign statements to infer that the policy was driven by anti-Muslim sentiment.

But that idea was challenged by some members of the 13-judge panel, which is examining a ruling that blocks the administration from temporarily barring new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

“Is there anything other than willful blindness that would prevent us from getting behind those statements?” asked Judge Henry Floyd, who was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama.

The 4th Circuit ruling is crucial for Trump, whose travel ban is expected to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court. The 4th Circuit is the first appeals court to examine the revised travel ban, which Trump’s administration rewrote in an attempt to thwart legal challenges. It’s unclear when the judges will issue their written decision.

Trump’s attorneys likely see the moderate court as friendlier territory than the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which conservatives have long attacked for being too liberal. The 9th Circuit is scheduled to hear another challenge to the revised travel ban next week.

The 4th Circuit “is historically quite conservative and quite pro-government, so for the Trump administration to lose before the full 4th Circuit I think would be quite a body blow for the second version of the executive order,” said Stephen Vladeck, a professor at the University of Texas law school.

A federal judge in Maryland who blocked the revised travel ban in March cited Trump’s comments as evidence that the executive order is a realization of Trump’s promised Muslim ban.

The administration argues that the court shouldn’t question the president’s national security decisions based on campaign statements. The countries were chosen because they present terrorism risks and the ban applies to everyone in those countries regardless of religion, it says.

“This is not a Muslim ban. Its text doesn’t have to anything to do with religion. Its operation doesn’t have anything to do with religion,” Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall told the court.

Omar Jadwat, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union, noted that Trump’s call for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the U.S. remained on his campaign website even after he took office. That call, which was still online earlier Monday, appeared to have been taken down by the afternoon hearing.

Jadwat said the administration has failed to provide a legitimate national security reason for the policy.

“The order is completely unprecedented in our nation’s history,” Jadwat said.

Judge Paul Niemeyer repeatedly challenged Jadwat’s arguments, questioning the wisdom in opening the door to using a president’s past to evaluate the constitutionality of a policy.

“Can we look at his college speeches? How about his speeches to business men 20 years ago?” asked Niemeyer, who was tapped by President George H. W. Bush.

The first travel ban in January triggered chaos and protests across the country as travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and detained at airports for hours.

After a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit refused in February to let the travel ban take effect, the administration tweaked the order and issued a new one.

The new version made it clear the 90-day ban covering those six countries doesn’t apply to those who already have valid visas. It removed language that would give priority to religious minorities and erased Iraq from the list of banned countries.

But critics said that although the new executive order affects fewer people, it remains a realization of Trump’s promised Muslim ban and cannot stand.

Even if the Trump administration wins in the 4th Circuit, the travel ban will remain on hold unless it also overturns a federal judge’s decision in Hawaii.

Vladeck said the Supreme Court may be more willing to hear the case if there’s a split among the appeals courts.

But Richard Primus, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Michigan law school, said he thinks the Supreme Court will ultimately hear the case no matter what the appeals courts decide.

“A case this big, a case this salient, is one that some of the justices are not going to want to pass up,” he said.


Associated Press writer Sarah Rankin contributed to this report.


Follow Alanna Durkin Richer at http://twitter.com/aedurkinricher . Read more of her work at http://apne.ws/2hIhzDb .

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Kansas penis pump maker to pay $1M to settle fraud claims

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:42

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) – A Kansas medical equipment supplier has agreed to pay $1 million to settle allegations that it submitted false claims to Medicare for vacuum erection devices that are known informally as penis pumps.

The U.S. attorney’s office announced the settlement with Pos-T-Vac Inc. on Monday. Allegations against the Dodge City company include that it submitted claims for vacuum erection supplies that weren’t medically necessary, lacked documentation of medical necessity and weren’t properly ordered by a physician. The issues are alleged to have occurred from 2009 through 2012.

Medicare has since stopped covering such devices.

During the investigation, Medicare suspended payments to Pos-T-Vac. Under the terms of the settlement, the government will retain those funds, and Pos-T-Vac will make additional payments to the government.

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Spirit Airlines cancels flight, passenger brawl breaks out

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:38

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NBC) – Screams and commotion took over Fort Lauderdale’s airport Monday as travelers clashed with Spirit Airlines employees and police.

About 300 Spirit flights have been canceled over the past seven days leaving thousands of passengers angry. The airline says its own pilots are behind the cancellations and is suing them in federal court.

Passengers across the country faced hours-long delays and flight cancellations for days. By Monday night, some travelers in Florida had enough.

The front ticket counter at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport turned into chaos, and Broward County deputies stepped in to try restore the peace between passengers and airline employees.

Travelers rushed off an airplane after their flight was canceled and approached the ticket counter, where dozens of passengers were already waiting in line.

Several people were detained but it’s unclear if they will be facing any charges.

If you or someone you know has booked a flight through Spirit, the airline asks to please call ahead to check on the flight status.

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White House climate change meeting postponed

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 09:25

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House has postponed a Tuesday meeting to discuss whether the United States should withdraw from the landmark international climate deal struck in Paris under the Obama administration.

The White House said late Monday that the meeting would be rescheduled. This is the second time a meeting of top aides on the issue has been delayed.

Donald Trump pledged during the presidential campaign to renegotiate the accord, but he has wavered on the issue since winning the presidency. His top officials have appeared divided about what to do about the deal, under which the United States pledged to significantly reduce planet-warming carbon emissions in the coming decade.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former chief executive of the oil company Exxon, said at his Senate confirmation hearing in January that he supports staying in the deal. But Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has said the Paris pact “is a bad deal for America” that will cost jobs.

Ivanka Trump, who serves as an adviser to her father, was supposed to meet separately Tuesday with Pruitt and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska. That meeting is still expected to take place, according to a White House official who requested anonymity to discuss private talks.

The Paris accord, signed by nearly 200 nations in 2015, was never ratified by the Senate due to the staunch oppositions of Republicans. It therefore does not have the force of a binding treaty, and the United States could potentially withdraw from the deal without legal penalty.

A senior administration official said the president’s inclination has been to leave the pact, but Ivanka Trump set up a review process to make sure he received information from experts in the public and private sector before a making a decision. The official requested anonymity to discuss private conversations.

As speculation continues about how Trump will handle the agreement, Tillerson is set to travel to Alaska for an Arctic Summit council this week amid concerns from other nations that the Trump administration will undermine global efforts to address climate change in the Arctic, where rising temperatures are having a disproportionate effect.

David Balton, a top U.S. diplomat who works on environmental issues, said there would be “no change” in U.S. participation even if Trump ultimately decides to pull out of the Paris pact.

“The U.S. will remain engaged in the work that the Arctic Council does on climate change throughout,” Balton said Monday.

In his prior post as the elected attorney general of Oklahoma, Pruitt closely aligned himself with the needs of the state’s oil and gas industry. He repeatedly sued the EPA over restrictions on extracting and burning fossil fuels. Among the regulations he opposed in court was the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, which sought to place new restrictions on carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants with the goal of helping the United States meet its commitments under the Paris accord.

Like Trump, Pruitt has questioned the consensus of climate scientists that man-made carbon emissions are the primary driver of global warming.

Over the weekend, the EPA administrator released a letter stating that under federal ethics standards he is obligated to recuse himself from legal cases he was involved with in his old job. However, in his letter Pruitt said his recusal does not extend to matters of “general applicability,” such as making policy decisions involving current or future environmental regulations. The EPA contends, therefore, there is no ethical issue with Pruitt making decisions to roll back carbon limits he previously opposed in court, because those decisions affect the nation as a whole rather than just Oklahoma.

“Federal ethics rules distinguish between specific party matters such as an individual permit or lawsuit and matters that apply generally such as a nationally applicable regulation,” said Kevi Minoli, the EPA lawyer who advises Pruitt on ethics issues.

High-profile supporters of the deal on Monday urged the U.S. to stay in the Paris accord. In a conference call organized by the liberal Center for American Progress, Brian Deese, a climate adviser to former President Barack Obama, said that “the race is on for which countries are going to be the 21st century clean energy super-powers.”

Deese said the U.S. must decide whether to “continue to play in that race or step off the field.”

Mindy Lubber, president of the nonprofit Ceres, which works with companies on sustainability issues, said that investors around the world are “eager to open their wallets to a low-carbon future.”

“We must stay in Paris, we must pass on a healthy economy and a healthy environment to our children,” Lubber said.


Associated Press writer Josh Lederman contributed to this report.


Follow Catherine Lucey at http://twitter.com/catherine_lucey and Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck

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Fatal accident shuts down part of Rock Road

Tue, 05/09/2017 - 07:39

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One person is dead after a car accident near the intersection of Central and Rock Road. It happened around 5:50 a.m.

Rock Road has been shut down between Central and Killarney, south of 13th, and will remain that way until the accident is cleared.

The driver was initially said to be in critical condition after the crash but died a few minutes later.

KSN News will continue to follow this story as more information is made available.

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