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Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

Sedgwick county resident on dead animals dumped by home: ‘It’s a nuisance, it is ridiculous’

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 23:38

HAYSVILLE, Kan. (KSNW) –  The remains of at least** four animals have been found left on a road near Haysville in the past two weeks.

A resident there says she’s had enough wants to figure out why.

Kelsey Kuhn has lived on a rural Sedgwick County road near Haysville for five years.

She says she commonly walks up and down the road daily, finding a site that isn’t uncommon.

“Just the tally of recent is four actual whole carcasses, and we’ve probably counted a collective of two more,” said Kuhn.

Those carcasses, Kuhn says, consist of deer and even a hog.

She says around this time every year, when hunting season kicks in to full gear, animal carcasses are dumped up and down her road.

“It’s the nearest county or dirt road that people find, we’ve had all kinds of instances,” said Kuhn.

Kuhn says she has both concerns and worries, one being the potential health risk the carcasses could pose for her dogs and others.

She’s even taken a proactive approach in trying to see if she can catch the people who are dumping these animals in the area.

“I put two cameras out, trail cams, they are motion detected, I would like to catch someone in the act,” said Kuhn.

Kuhn is hoping that the continual dumping of animal carcasses comes to an end, sooner rather than later.

“There’s no reason for this, there’s just no reason, I’m beyond words I’m so frustrated,” said Kuhn.

Kuhn says she has reached out to the Kansas Department of Wildlife.

She says one of the game wardens left her a message earlier today who said they were familiar with another case of a hog being dumped in that area a few years ago.

The game warden told Kuhn they would possibly put a camera out there to monitor the situation.

The crime for dumping animal carcasses is considered criminal littering, which is an unclassified misdemeanor.

A person found guilty of the crime could be fined anywhere between 250-dollar to four-thousand-dollars, depending on the number of convictions.

In addition to the fines, the person is required to pick up the litter.

Categories: Local KSN News

McConnell airman pauses family vacation to provide Hurricane Harvey relief

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 23:33

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – McConnell Air Force Base has many people who do heroic acts everyday. And this year, the base is recognizing an airman who jumped into action in Texas during Hurricane Harvey.

But the catch is, he helped out of uniform.

Technical Sergeant Carlos Espitia says he, his wife, and their daughter were visiting family in Texas when the storm hit. He quickly followed his instincts and helped those in need, and because of those efforts, is in the running for a big honor.

You can typically find Espitia at McConnell Air Force Base.

He’s usually here, grinding materials for dental appliances. But in August, Espitia and his family were in a disaster zone.

“Forecast changed big time,” said Carlos Espitia, Technical Sergeant.

Hurricane Harvey flooded hundreds of homes and roads forcing many people to find safety.

As soon as it hit, Espitia knew what he had to do.

“No that’s just not, I can’t just watch someone in trouble,” said Espitia.

He and his uncle used a truck to drive through flooded areas to find people in need.

“Getting them out of the water and then helping them out afterwards, they had to leave nothing, they just got in their vehicle and left,” said Espitia.

Espitia also used his knowledge of Spanish to translate for many people caught in the storm. He even helped bandage a man needing first aid on his leg. He says the wife’s reaction is one he won’t forget.

“A great big hug, tears changed from being sad and scared,” said Espitia.

This week Espitia was nominated for the annual Vanguard Award, an Air Force wide honor that one person receives. Others at McConnell say Espitia’s actions, deserve the recognition.

“Service before self and being able to help others in and out of uniform and so what he did on his time off, on a family vacation, to help others was amazing,” said Captain Rose Tran, Dental Flight Commander.

Espitia says he’s so honored to be up for the award, which honors an enlisted service member from each branch for a heroic act, on or off duty, which results in saving someone’s life or preventing a serious injury.

He should hear if he won it sometime next year.

Categories: Local KSN News

Pratt County deputies seize nearly $500K in meth during routine traffic stop

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 22:32

PRATT COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) –  Pratt County deputies found a large amount of drugs during a routine traffic stop Friday morning.

According to the Pratt County Sheriff’s Office, during the stop a deputy obtained probable cause to conduct a search of the vehicle.

The search of the vehicle led deputies to discover 10.5 pounds of methamphetamine. That amount of meth equals to a street value of approximately $404,000.

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Lawyer: No one at Michigan State knew about doc’s assaults

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 21:04

DETROIT (AP) — A former federal prosecutor hired by Michigan State University said there’s no evidence that school officials knew a campus doctor was sexually abusing young female athletes.

Patrick Fitzgerald made the disclosure in a letter to state Attorney General Bill Schuette, who had asked for the university’s internal report on Dr. Larry Nassar. Fitzgerald said there is no report or “Fitzgerald findings.” But he said Michigan State is “ready, willing and able to cooperate” with any inquiry by state or federal authorities.

Fitzgerald’s letter was released Friday by Schuette, a day after Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in prison for possessing child pornography and destroying evidence. He’s awaiting prison sentences in state court for molesting girls, especially gymnasts, who needed help with injuries in the Lansing area.

Nassar, 54, worked at Michigan State and at Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, which trains Olympians. Olympians McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Gabby Douglas say they were among his victims as teens.

“It is clear that Nassar fooled everyone around him — patients, friends, colleagues and fellow doctors at MSU,” said Fitzgerald, who built a crime-busting reputation as U.S. attorney in Chicago.

“While many in the community today wish that they had identified Nassar as a predator, we believe the evidence in this case will show that no one else at MSU knew that Nassar engaged in criminal behavior,” he wrote Wednesday.

Fitzgerald said it’s “just flat wrong” for people to assume that university administrators “behaved like criminals in a cover-up.”

The attorney general’s office is reviewing the letter to “evaluate our next steps,” said Andrea Bitely, a spokeswoman for Schuette, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor.

Fitzgerald said part of his job is to provide advice to Michigan State in lawsuits related to Nassar’s actions. Indeed, the university is a defendant in many cases filed by more than 100 women and girls who say they were assaulted by the doctor.

An attorney for the victims, John Manly, said Fitzgerald’s affiliation with the school means his voice is not truly independent.

“If there’s no report, there’s no investigation,” Manly said Friday. “What the university hired Mr. Fitzgerald to do is to effectively close the gates and bar the door and not let anyone know what occurred. … Mr. Fitzgerald has never spoken to any of the victims.”

Manly said athletes who were uncomfortable with Nassar years ago reported their concerns to university staff but nothing happened. He renewed his call for an independent probe.

Gretchen Whitmer, a Democratic candidate for governor who briefly served as a Lansing-area prosecutor, wants state police to look at how Michigan State dealt with Nassar.

Without an independent investigation at Michigan State, “I don’t believe any of the victims will have confidence that we’ve got all of the facts,” Whitmer said.

___

Associated Press writer David Eggert in Lansing contributed to this report.

___

Follow Ed White at https://twitter.com/edwhiteap

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Conyers’ House seat to remain vacant for nearly a year

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 21:02

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s Republican governor announced Friday that Democrat John Conyers’ congressional seat will not be filled until the regularly scheduled November election, leaving it vacant for nearly a year.

Gov. Rick Snyder decided the post will be listed twice on the August primary and November general election ballots. While unlikely, it is possible voters could choose one candidate to fill the vacancy until January 2019 and elect another to a full two-year term after that.

It is unusual for a congressional district to stay vacant for so long, according to a review of vacancies and successors listed on the House website. In the last 20 years, the longest time a seat stayed empty was 10 months — in 2014, when Rep. Melvin Watt of North Carolina left to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Snyder said he opted against having an earlier special election to give potential candidates ample time to decide about running, provide voters in the predominantly Democratic district more options and save money.

The 88-year-old Conyers, who was facing a House Ethics Committee investigation over claims by former staffers, cited health reasons for his resignation Tuesday.

Michael Gilmore, a Detroit attorney who is running for the seat, said not having representation in the House for nearly a year is unfair to residents.

“I think it’s unfortunate that the governor thinks this is what we’re worth,” Gilmore said Friday.

Snyder’s office said it consulted with Wayne County leadership before making a decision. The 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization backed the decision, too.

“In order to allow several months for that to take place and to reduce the financial burden on local taxpayers, the primary and general elections will be held when regularly scheduled elections are already occurring,” Snyder said in a statement.

The filing deadline is April 24 for both elections. Whoever wins the special election will serve next November and December, and — if he or she also wins the regular race — will serve a two-year term starting in 2019. A Snyder spokeswoman said it could have cost up to $2 million if the special elections were scheduled on non-regular election dates.

Detroit, a city of about 680,000, currently does not have any resident serving in Congress.

Former Michigan Department Party Chairman Mark Brewer tweeted that Snyder’s decision “continues to give the back of his hand to urban areas whether it’s emergency managers, poisoned water, and now being denied representation in Congress for nearly a year.”

But Jonathan Kinloch, chairman of the 13th Congressional District Democratic Party Organization, said earlier this week that having the elections on the regularly scheduled dates would avoid the typical low turnouts associated with special elections.

“We want as many voters as possible to participate in the filling of the seat,” he said.

John Conyers retired amid allegations by about a half-dozen women who once worked for him that they were harassed and touched inappropriately. He has denied the allegations. Conyers first was elected in 1964.

Some colleagues in the U.S. House had urged Conyers to resign. When he did, he endorsed his 27-year-old son, John Conyers III, to succeed him. The younger Conyers, a partner with a Detroit-based, minority-run hedge fund, posted on Twitter this week that he has not decided whether he wants to run for his father’s old seat. The Associated Press has been unable to reach him for comment.

The race for the seat in the district that includes parts of Detroit and some western Wayne County communities could become a free-for-all.

Gilmore said he began fundraising for his campaign in April and had planned to challenge John Conyers prior to the sexual harassment allegations.

Democratic state Sen. Ian Conyers, John Conyers’ grand-nephew, has said he will run.

Fellow Democratic state Sent. Coleman Young II is expected on Monday to announce his candidacy, his spokesman said.

Young sought Detroit’s mayoral seat his late father, Mayor Coleman A. Young, once held, but lost to incumbent Mike Duggan last month.

“He is battle-tested. This mayoral race has prepared him,” Young spokesman Adolph Mongo told The Associated Press. “He knows the issues in the 13th District. He’s been campaigning for 10 months on the issues.”

Conyers III never has been elected to a public post. Ian Conyers won a special election in 2016 for his seat. Young was elected in 2010 to the Michigan Senate. He served in the state House from 2005 to 2010.

___

Eggert reported from Lansing, Michigan.

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Trump promotes Roy Moore before Florida rally

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 20:58

PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday reinforced his support for embattled Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, telling voters four days before they go to the polls that the “LAST thing” he needs in the closely divided GOP-controlled Senate is a “Liberal Democrat” who opposes his agenda.

Trump tweeted that message hours before he touched down in Pensacola, Florida, for a Friday night rally in a state that helped propel him to the White House.

The White House has said the rally is a campaign event for Trump. But the location, near the Alabama border and feeding television markets in the state, stoked speculation that the rally was a backdoor way for the president to give Moore’s campaign a boost without actually setting foot in the state.

“It’s not that he’s not going to Alabama. It’s that he is going to Pensacola,” White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters on board Air Force One Friday. “Pensacola’s Trump country. This is a part of the state that voted overwhelmingly for the president in 2016. He’ll be traveling back to Florida from time to time, and it’s a key state.”

Shah said Trump would be talking to voters about the Republican tax plan making its way through Congress. Trump has been trying to sell the plan as a boon to the middle class, despite criticism that it would disproportionately help businesses and the wealthy.

Moore, who is 70, has been dogged by multiple allegations of sexual misconduct, including accusations that he molested two teenage girls and pursued romantic relationships with several others while in his 30s. He has denied the allegations.

Shah said the president and White House have made clear they find the allegations “troubling and concerning” and believe they “should be taken seriously.” But he said Moore has maintained his innocence, and that should be taken into account as well.

“Ultimately his endorsement is about the issues,” said Shah. “He doesn’t want to see Alabama elect a Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer puppet who’s going to be wrong on the issues and not support the agenda,” he said, referring to top congressional Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

Earlier Friday, Trump tweeted that the “LAST thing the Make America Great Again Agenda needs is a Liberal Democrat in Senate where we have so little margin for victory already.” Republicans currently have a 52-48 GOP edge in the Senate. He also criticized Democrat Doug Jones, Moore’s opponent, as being “bad” on a number of issues.

“The Pelosi/Schumer Puppet Jones would vote against us 100% of the time. He’s bad on Crime, Life, Border, Vets, Guns & Military. VOTE ROY MOORE!” Trump said.

Moore tweeted that he agreed with Trump.

“You’re right Mr. President! We can’t Make America Great Again with another radical liberal in the US Senate,” he said. “I look forward to working with you to pass the America First Agenda!”

Trump, who overcame allegations of sexual misconduct to win last year’s presidential election, looked past the charges against Moore and formally endorsed the former Alabama judge this week for the seat once held by Jeff Sessions, now the U.S. attorney general.

Top Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, had called on Moore to step aside after the allegations were made public.

Friday’s campaign rally will be Trump’s first since September, when he went to Alabama to campaign for Sen. Luther Strange.

Strange lost the GOP runoff election to Moore.

Trump’s visit to the Florida panhandle comes in the final days of the Alabama Senate special election campaign. The crowd included some Alabama voters who traveled across the border for the rally.

“These are lies, just malicious lies,” said John Maddalena, head of the south Alabama chapter of “Bikers for Trump.” Maddalena and his wife, Alisha, rode to the Trump rally from their home near Montgomery, Alabama.

Alisha described herself as a “strong woman” who still doesn’t believe Moore’s accusers.

“You let him sit there and pass judgment on people” as a jurist “for 40 years and don’t say anything?” she asked. “You wait until he’s running for the Senate to come up with this? That makes you suspicious.”

“I’m a strong female,” she continued. “If things like that happen to you, you need to come out immediately.”

Others were Trump supporters eager to see the president in person.

Forrest Holt, 71, came to Pensacola from neighboring Gulf Breeze with his Marine buddies for the rally.

“We love Trump, because he doesn’t back down from anybody,” said Holt, who said a tax cut is his top priority.

Holt gave Trump credit for Republicans on Capitol Hill advancing competing bills through the process, but said he’s not worried about the details.

“They’re on the right track,” he said. “I pay my fair share, and I just want everyone else to pay theirs too.”

___

Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Bill Barrow in Pensacola, Florida, contributed to this report. Follow Darlene Superville on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dsupervilleap

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Suspect in Portland train stabbings says he was on autopilot

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 20:57

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man charged with the stabbing deaths of two commuters on a Portland light-rail train was on “autopilot” and wasn’t fully aware of his actions until he heard passengers screaming that he was killing people, according to a psychological evaluation unsealed Friday.

The evaluation ordered by Jeremy Christian’s attorneys was submitted to the court last month as part of an unsuccessful bid to secure his release on bail. Christian, 35, has pleaded not guilty and is in custody awaiting trial.

At a hearing last month, Portland homicide detective Michele Michaels testified that Christian inflicted 11 stab wounds in 11 seconds after passengers confronted him about anti-Muslim comments directed at two teenage girls. Passengers Taliesin Namkai-Meche, 23, and Rick Best, were stabbed to death.

A third man, Micah Fletcher, was slashed in the throat but survived.

Whether Christian was animated by racial bias and was harassing the girls or not before the attack could be pivotal questions in the case.

The defense evaluation quotes Christian as saying the two girls were 15 feet away and he didn’t speak to them or direct his comments at them.

“At odds with accounts in the media, Mr. Christian reported that the two girls on the MAX did not cross his mind,” wrote Dr. Mark D. Cunningham, a Seattle-based psychologist.

Cunningham said Christian liked to make inflammatory comments in public to assert his right to free speech but was not driven by racial hatred. He had consumed sangria that day and planned to “do his free speech thing” because he was angry about being pepper-sprayed the night before by a passenger on another train.

“Mr. Christian reported that if he has been drinking, he tends to ‘talk politics’ on the MAX to see if he ‘can get someone’s goat,'” Cunningham wrote.

According to the detective’s previous testimony, Christian got on the train about 12 minutes before the attack, initially talking on his cellphone before making statements toward passengers in an agitated manner. Michaels said many witnesses heard xenophobic comments and rants about free speech.

Fletcher recalled Christian yelling at the girls — one of whom was wearing hijab — and saying they didn’t belong in the United States. Fletcher moved toward Christian as the girls moved away, Michaels said. He joined another man, Shawn Forde, in trying to get Christian to be quiet.

Forde then told Fletcher to let it go, and the college student stopped talking to Christian for about three minutes, the detective said.

During that period, Namkai-Meche moved away from Christian as he spoke to his aunt on the phone. She suggested he record the rant in case something happened.

Under cross-examination, Michaels acknowledged that a witness heard Namkai-Meche tell Christian: “You’re going to be an Internet sensation.”

Christian grabbed the cellphone and threw it to the ground. The men stood “chest to chest,” the detective said, and Christian repeatedly challenged Namkai-Meche to “Do something!”

Fletcher defended his fellow passenger, and Christian shoved both men. Fletcher pulled Christian backward, then gave him another shove toward the open door of the now-stopped train, Michaels said.

Christian pulled out a knife and gave Fletcher a roundhouse stab in the neck, the detective testified. He then stabbed Namkai-Meche and Best, who had tried to stop the attack, Michaels said.

Cunningham, the defense psychologist, said Christian spent more than eight years in prison during his early adulthood and may have had a “fight or flight” reaction when the passengers confronted him. Christian fought frequently in prison and spent much of his incarceration in solitary confinement, where he was suicidal, he wrote.

Friends interviewed for the evaluation said Christian’s psychological health seemed to deteriorate in the six months before the attack and a family meeting shortly before may have further destabilized him, Cunningham said.

His mother told him he would need to move his collection of 15,000 comic books out of her house. She said she would pay for two months of storage and then Christian would be on his own, the psychologist wrote. Christian had never lived alone.

He had dropped out of high school, worked four years at a pizza shop before prison, has never had a romantic relationship and doesn’t know how to drive, the report said. He doesn’t know how to engage in conversation and often makes provocative statements to compensate for his social dysfunction, Cunningham wrote.

The psychologist suggested Christian may have a variant of obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder from his prison stint and a social disorder.

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What the city is doing different to bring, keep a Minor League team

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 19:41

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – There’s been a lot of talk about bringing a new baseball team to Wichita and it’s one with ties to Major League Baseball.

The current Wichita team, the Wingnuts, are independent.

But there have been major league farm teams in the past: the Wichita Wranglers dating back to 1989, the wichita pilots for a couple of years in the 80s, the Wichita Aeros starting in the 70s, and the Wichita Braves for a few years in the 50s.

Wichita has one of the oldest baseball facilities in the country.

Now they’re looking to the future and the game plan involves a new stadium and a new team.

“The good news we’ve talked to in the baseball community is the idea to make a stadium, not just 70 dates a year, but up to 200 or 250 dates a year of activity,” said Scot Rigby, assistant city manager for the city of Wichita.

But Wichita has seen minor league teams playing downtown before, including the most recent Wranglers.

They all ended up leaving.

Now, the city is taking a different approach with new incentives.

“I think the other thing that you’ve heard over the last six months is the vision of the mayor with the river corridor, with the talk about redoing the convention center, performing arts center, enhancing the riverfront,” said Rigby.

But the big difference this time is a major perk that wasn’t provided to the Wranglers.

“That’s easy! A new stadium,” said Bob Hanson, president and CEO of the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. “We would still have them here if we had a new stadium…I’ve done quite a bit of research around the country and Minor League Baseball is-most of those teams are very successful and most of them have great facilities.”

“We want people to feel that this is their backyard,” said Rigby. “So, if they’re coming downtown, walking around the riverfront, they can stop, view into the stadium, maybe have lunch looking over the stadium area.”

Rigby says the goal is to have a new stadium ready for the 2020 season.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said Thursday, an announcement on a new team could come in the near future.

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Drivers weave through cones in Old Town, major road repairs underway

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 19:09

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Orange cones, heavy equipment, and men in hard hats, that’s what you will see if you head to Old Town.

“It is construction personified,” says Arlene Graber, who was doing some shopping early Friday afternoon.

There is literally no way around it in some areas of Old Town. Long lines of stop and go traffic. Tight turns at the intersection. It is what it is.

“There is a lot of road construction going on right now and kind of throughout the downtown area,” says Cathy Carney.

Drivers beware.

“You just have to keep your eyes on the road when you are coming around this area,” says Carney.

There is a light at the end of the orange tunnel though.

By March, the city hopes to be partially done repaving 1st Street and 2nd Street, between Santa Fe and Washington, so they aren’t tearing up streets during the NCAA tournament.

For now, you’ll need to plan ahead.

“It takes a lot longer so if those people are going out shopping they ought to wait awhile,” says Graber.

Douglas and Hyrdaulic, is a sea of orange and white.

“It has been like this for awhile,” says Patrick Hayes.

Soon the intersection will be improved but the one there now makes for an uncomfortable ride.

“Yeah that spot I drive by it every morning,” says Patrick Hayes.

There is a dip that cars bounce over and nearly scrape the pavement.

“I always feel like I have to swerve to the left or I am going to run my front right tire into the curb.”

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Filing: Men accused of bomb plot want Trump voters on jury

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 18:37

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Three men accused of plotting to bomb an apartment complex housing Somali refugees have asked a federal judge to pull prospective jurors from rural Kansas because they are twice as likely to have voted for President Donald Trump.

A defense motion filed Friday argues plans to issue summons only to citizens in the more urban counties closest to the federal courthouse is a discriminatory practice that excludes rural and conservative jurors. The trial begins March 19 in Wichita.

Gavin Wright, Patrick Stein and Curtis Allen are charged with conspiring to detonate the day after the 2016 election truck bombs at a mosque and apartment complex in the meatpacking town of Garden City. They have pleaded not guilty.

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Hodgeman Co. tradition brings joy to others through song

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 18:23

HANSTON, Kan. (KSNW) – Every year, Hodgeman County residents go all out to celebrate Christmas.

“This is the 17th year we’ve done this,” said Lee Ann Seiler, Hodgeman County Economic Development.

It’s a holiday tradition for Hanston.

“It’s on my bucket list to take my kids caroling this year,” said Julie Housman, Hanston resident. “Oh my goodness, they had so much fun. By the end, my three-year-old twins were singing ‘We Wish You a Merry Christmas’ really well. It makes a mom’s heart really happy.”

Eugene Thieszen sings for people who often don’t get out and about a lot.

“This is an opportunity for us to go to their places and shared just a bit of joy of Christmas with them,” explained Thieszen.

And it meant a lot to residents who were sung to.

“I love that they make sure that people know that they’re being sung to and singing the Christmas carols and wished a merry Christmas,” said Janet Isaac, Hanston resident.

The caroling leads up to another Hodgeman County tradition.

“Next weekend is the journey to Bethlehem, and I hope everyone comes out to that,” said Seiler.

The play is an annual nativity play put on in Jetmore.

“There’s over 60 costumed actors and actresses. It is a full production with live camels and chickens and goats and all kinds of animals and things,” explained Seiler. “A lot of people have been practicing their lines diligently all week.”

There is another Christmas special in Hodgeman County tomorrow in Jetmore. Details can be found here.

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Hawkins enters guilty plea, agrees to life in prison without parole

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 17:42

HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Swift justice is how Harvey County officials are describing the court process for a double murder that shook Newton.

Keith Hawkins, 20, is charged with capital murder in the double homicide of 24-year-old Alyssa Runyon and 4-year-old Zaylynn Paz of Newton in August. Hawkins was needing a place to stay, and Runyon was allowing him to stay in her home. Runyon was found on August 8 strangled but ultimately beaten to death in her home, along with daughter Zaylynn who was stabbed to death.

On Friday in court, Hawkins pleaded guilty to capital murder, waiving a trial. He will spend life in prison without the possibility of parole. This will spare the victim’s family from reliving the harrowing details in a possible years-long trial.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen as egregious and painful and as senseless of case as we have dealt with here,” Harvey County attorney David Yoder said.

Hawkins will be sentenced February 9.

This story is developing. Tune into KSN news at 5:00 for more.

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Court papers show Manafort drafting op-ed under house arrest

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 17:23

WASHINGTON (AP) — Paul Manafort, the former chairman of Donald Trump’s campaign, was heavily involved in the drafting of an opinion piece on Ukrainian politics even while under house arrest, according to documents released Friday by special counsel Robert Mueller and his team of prosecutors.

Prosecutors said earlier this week that Manafort had ghost-written an op-ed with a colleague who they said was assessed to have ties to Russian intelligence. The disclosure was aimed at showing that Manafort had violated a judge’s order to refrain from trying his case in public.

The government on Friday revealed new details that showed that Manafort had made a line-by-line edit of the essay on Nov. 29. The op-ed was published this week in an English-language newspaper in Ukraine under the byline of a former Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman. Prosecutors also say that Manafort’s attorney had assured them the essay wouldn’t be published.

Also Friday, Mueller detailed hundreds of thousands of documents, including copies of data from 36 electronic devices, and the existence of 15 search warrants in the government’s case against Manafort and Rick Gates, his business associates and co-defendant.

The scope of the documents is outlined in a separate filing, which details what evidence the government collected in building its case against Manafort and Gates.

The government’s first batch of documents provided to Manafort and Gates, on Nov. 17, focused on financial records from Cyprus and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as a hard drive with 89,000 items on it. Mueller’s team also provided some of the 2,000 “hot” documents — items considered critical to the government’s case.

On Nov. 22, the government turned over two more hard drives with roughly 120,000 items on them. On Dec. 1, prosecutors turned over additional search warrants, deposition from Manafort and Gates from another case, and a fourth hard drive with roughly 80,000 items on it. The government also gave Gates copies of data on nine electronic devices seized in the raid on Manafort’s Virginia home this past summer.

Manafort and Gates were charged by Mueller’s team with multiple counts of conspiring to launder money, conspiring against the U.S. and giving false statements to federal agents. Both men pleaded not guilty.

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Great Bend appoints Lt. David Bailey as interim police chief

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 16:45

GREAT BEND, Kan. (KSNW) – An acting police chief for the city of Great Bend has been named.

According to George Kolb, Interim City Administrator, an Interim Chief has been appointed in Great Bend. Lt. David Bailey will be the acting police chief, effective Monday December 11.

The confirmation and consent of Great Bend City Council in the official position appointment will be December 18.

In a press release Kolb said eight candidates were interviewed for the positions, and after long deliberations and discussions the committee hired Lt. Bailey.

Bailey has been with the Great Bend Police Department for almost 40 years.

“I am honored and eager to be chosen as Great Bend Police Chief, I look forward to utilizing my years of education and experience to help better unify and progress our department,” said Lt. Bailey. “Our department has went through good times and bad together, we have great talent and I know that together we can help make Great Bend a better place.”

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Wichita man sentenced to 29 years in prison for murder

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 15:56

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita man has been sentenced to 29 years in prison for the murder of Reyona Caldwell.

Dane Wright was sentenced to life plus 59 months by Judge Steven Ternes. According to Dan Dillon, Media Coordinator for the Office of the District Attorney, this means Wright must serve 25 years with an additional four years for a total of 29 years.

Wright will not be eligible for parole for 29 years.

In June, Reyona Caldwell was found dead in a burning home and her three children were missing. The children were later found safe.

Wright pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, aggravated burglary, aggravated arson and three counts of endangering a child on Nov. 8.

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Categories: Local KSN News

NOT REAL NEWS: A look at what didn’t happen this week

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:54

A roundup of some of the most popular, but completely untrue, headlines of the week. None of these stories are legit, even though they were shared widely on social media. The Associated Press checked these out; here are the real facts:

NOT REAL: What’s This? Congress Has Paid Out $15 Million from ‘Sexual Harassment Slush Fund’ to ‘Quiet’ Victims!

THE FACTS: A Congress-administered fund does exist to settle harassment and other disputes with lawmakers, but all of its actions are public. Multiple sites posted stories after several politicians were publicly accused of sexual misconduct identified the Office of Compliance as a “slush fund.” While that term describes an off-the-books operation often used for criminal purposes, all the office’s settlement data is publicly available . It has paid out $17.2 million over the past 20 years to settle disputes, not all of which have involved harassment complaints.

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NOT REAL: Queen Elizabeth Removes Obamas from Royal Wedding Guest List

THE FACTS: Buckingham Palace has not released a guest list for the wedding of Prince Harry and actress Meghan Markle, despite a blog site’s claims the queen personally intervened to exclude former President Barack and Michelle Obama and invite President Donald Trump to the wedding. The British prince’s office said last month that the exact date for the May wedding hadn’t even been agreed upon. The YourNewsWire piece claimed the queen was offended by the Obamas’ congratulatory tweets to her grandson. The Obamas have had a historically friendly relationship with Elizabeth.

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NOT REAL: Woman fired for flipping off Trump’s motorcade receives 453,673 job offers

THE FACTS: Juli Briskman said she got new interest in her career, but not the number of job offers specified in an extranewsfeed piece tagged as satire about the Virginia bicyclist who was fired after raising her middle finger at President Donald Trump’s motorcade. Briskman did say she attracted more than 17,000 new Twitter followers, however.

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NOT REAL: Morgue employee cremated by mistake while taking a nap

THE FACTS: This false story has been circulating for months after the World News Daily Report site published an account of a Texas morgue employee who fell asleep on a stretcher and was mistaken for a dead person; it included pictures of a Texas medical examiner from a 2012 news profile and the mug shot of a Mississippi official charged with DUI in 2015. A new version of the piece this week kept the story details but changed the location to Macomb County, Michigan. The piece appeared on a site that closely resembles ABC News, prompting concerned calls across the Michigan county. Macomb County corner Daniel Spitz said the office does not have cremation facilities.

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NOT REAL: Virginia DOT to Ban Vehicles Valued Under $60,000 From Driving on Interstate 66

THE FACTS: This account has been circulating on the realnewsrightnow hoax site since the state’s transportation department launched its “Express Lanes” concept that raises tolls to over $30 on a nine-mile stretch of highway near Washington, D.C. Virginia Department of Transportation spokeswoman Michelle Holland says the story that the state has banned cars valued under $60,000 is “not true.”

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

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Find all AP Fact Checks here: https://www.apnews.com/tag/APFactCheck

Categories: Local KSN News

Gunman identified in deadly Aztec school shooting

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 13:52

AZTEC, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico State Police have identified the gunman in Thursday’s shooting at Aztec High School as 21-year-old William Atchison.

San Juan County Sheriff Ken Christiansen says this was a “planned event” for the shooter.

NMSP Chief Kassetas says they believe the victims were not specifically targeted, but “in the wrong place as the wrong time.’

The sheriff says that the shooter blended in with students to get into the school Thursday morning as buses were arriving. He then entered the building and walked to the second-floor bathroom to prepare for his attack.

The first victim, Francisco “Paco” Fernandez left class to go to that same bathroom. Police say the shooter ambushed and killed him instantly.

The shooter then walked out of the bathroom and shot the second victim, Casey Jordan-Marquez in the hallway.

After, Atchison went to the computer lab. However, the class had already taken cover in a closet.

He opened fire and shot through the wall, but none of the shots hit the students.

He then turned the gun on himself just as officers were entering the school.

Investigators say that he only had one gun during the shooting with multiple magazines. They also say that he purchased it last month locally and legally.

The San Juan County Sheriff is calling this an act of cowardice.

Investigators found a thumb drive on Atchison. The following letter was found on that thumb drive:

December 7, 2017
If things go according to plan, today would be when I die.
I wait until the school buses are detected, then head out on foot disguised as a student.
I go somewhere and gear up, then hold a class hostage and go apesh**, then blow my brains out.

Work suck, school sucks, life sucks.

I just want out of this sh**.

F*** this state, it really is bad. Think I’m insane? I’m actually more rational, peaceful and less loony than a majority of the citizenry of this entire region.

Investigators found another note in a trash can at his home with plans of the shooting that was broken down to the hour.

Officials say Atchison was living in Aztec with his parents, working at a gas station and was a student at Aztec High School as one point. However, he never graduated after moving from Belen, New Mexico.

The FBI also said that they got a tip about Atchison in 2016 after he posted a threatening message on an online gaming site. They interviewed both him and his parents. At the time they said he was cooperative and did not own a gun.

Law enforcement acknowledged and praised the swift actions by teachers and school officials saying that they helped save a lot of lives that day.

Related Coverage from KRQE
Categories: Local KSN News

Western’s Weather Wrap: Warming into the Weekend

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:53

Plenty of sunshine again today, but it’s still cold with temperatures in the 30s as of 11 AM.

The winds have picked up significantly in western Kansas today, and that combined with the very dry conditions means that the fire danger is very high yet again today, so please be cautious!

Today won’t be as cold as yesterday, but nonetheless it will be chilly, with highs in the 40s, partly cloudy skies, and breezy northwest winds.

This pattern that we’re stuck in right now is bringing us a series of Alberta Clippers. These are storm system that develop near Alberta, Canada, and make their way southeast through the Great Lakes region. This means the western half of the US stays warm and dry, while the eastern half sees the blasts of colder air and some precipitation. For us in Kansas, we’re in the middle, which means we generally stay dry, but we get clipped by the blasts of cold air, allowing us to turn chilly briefly and warm back up quickly before the next system arrives.

I’ll have all of the details on our warming weekend weather, coming up on KSN News at Noon! Or you can get your latest forecast right here: http://ksn.com/2017/03/08/weather-forecast-discussion/

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

~Katie the Weather Lady

Categories: Local KSN News

Spirit employee injured in workplace accident has died

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:52

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Spirit AeroSystems employee who was seriously injured in a workplace incident on November 3rd at the company’s Wichita site has died.

It is unclear what caused the incident, but an investigation is underway.

Fred Malley, Director of Corporate Communications and Government Relations for Spirit AeroSystems issued the following statement to KSN.

The Spirit AeroSystems community was saddened to learn that our colleague, Sammy Barnett, has passed away. Sammy was being treated for serious injuries sustained in an accident that occurred at the company’s Wichita site on November 3. Our deepest sympathy and prayers go out to his family and friends. The safety and well-being of our employees is our top priority, and we remain committed to driving an ever-stronger safety culture at Spirit. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and we intend to utilize any findings to determine ways to reinforce and further strengthen our processes and procedures. The company is fully cooperating with all appropriate government agencies.

Categories: Local KSN News

Ellis County officer-involved shooting ruled justified

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 12:45

HAYS, Kan. (KSNW) — An officer-involved shooting that began with a vehicle pursuit in November of 2016 has been ruled justified, according to Ellis County Attorney Thomas Drees.

The shooting happened on November 8, 2016 after an Ellis County Sheriff’s Deputy attempted to stop a car after the driver was seen driving left of center. The driver refused to stop and led the officer on a chase with speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.

The driver lost control of the car approximately 1/3 of a mile south of the Ellis County / Rooks County line.

While the driver initially complied with the deputy’s instructions to lie on the ground, he then stood up and attacked the deputy. The deputy tased the man but he continued to attack and took the tazer from the officer.

The officer then pulled his weapon and the driver tried to take it from him. The deputy then fired several shots, hitting the driver. The driver died at the scene and the deputy was treated at Hays Medical Center for injuries he received in the attack.

The investigation determined that the deputy acted in self-defense and that he reasonably believed shooting the driver was necessary to prevent his own death or great bodily harm.

Categories: Local KSN News

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